PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen scored power-play goals and the Philadelphia Flyers head into the All-Star break leading the league in wins after a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The Flyers’ 10-2-0 record in January has catapulted them to an NHL-best 33 victories. A year ago, the Flyers clinched a playoff spot in the last game of the season. They’ll return next week with a No. 1 seed in the East in sight.
Dan Carcillo and Danny Briere also scored for the Flyers. The Flyers earned their 1,000th home victory.
The Flyers scored three goals on their first 11 shots and easily handled Montreal.
Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational in net with 29 saves.
The Flyers won for the 301st time at the arena now known as the Wells Fargo Center. They won 696 games at the Spectrum, home of the Broad Street Bullies, and three at the Colisee de Quebec, according to the Flyers.
The Flyers are the first expansion-era team to reach that milestone.
It’s a nice feat for the franchise.
But what this year’s deep team really cares about is snagging that No. 1 record in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers showed why they’re tops so far this season, with a potent scoring punch, solid play in net and Chris Pronger-led stout play on the blue line.
Carter and Timonen scored 63 seconds apart on 5-on-3 opportunities in the first period against Carey Price and the Flyers cruised from there.
With the penalty box stuffed with Canadiens, Carter turned his back to Price and slid a perfect pass from Mike Richards behind him for his 23rd goal.
Timonen wasted no time finishing off what was left on the clock of the two-man advantage. He corralled the puck against the boards, passed it to Pronger, then fired the return feed from the point past a stunned Price for a 2-0 lead.
It was a night full of rare goals. Timonen and Carcillo each scored their third goals of the season. Montreal’s David Desharnais also scored his third goal of the season.
Carcillo scored only 23 seconds into the second period and another sellout crowd was going wild.
Desharnais made it 3-1 when he spoiled Bobrovsky’s bid for his first career shutout.
Bobrovsky, the 22-year-old rookie sensation, also made the save of the game.
A shot fired off the post and trickled behind him and toward the back of the net. Bobrovsky was on his back, swiped at the puck inches before it crossed the goal line and stopped a goal that would have made it 3-2.
The play stood after review — Flyers coach Peter Laviolette nodded at the overhead replay as if there was no doubt.
Laviolette is headed to the All-Star game as co-coach of one of the teams. Giroux, along with Briere, are also going to Sunday’s game in Raleigh, N.C.
Giroux ended the first half of the season on a high with his 19th goal.
Mathieu Darche scored his ninth goal late in the third to pull within 4-2 but it was too late.
Briere scored an empty-netter in the final seconds for his 26th goal.
Bobrovsky won his sixth straight start, and has given the Flyers every reason to believe he can carry them deep into the postseason.
Notes: Philadelphia’s Feb. 13 game against the Los Angeles Kings has been changed to a 3 p.m start. … Flyers F James van Riemsdyk sat out with a lower-body injury. … Giroux has points in the past seven games.
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