Canadiens desperate for home win
As the Philadelphia Flyers try to overcome the loss of their captain, the frustration mounts for the Montreal Canadiens during their worst start in 70 years.
Chris Pronger (eye injury) begins an extended absence as Philadelphia looks to keep reeling Montreal winless at home this season on Wednesday night.
Montreal hasn't gone this deep into a season without earning its second victory since beginning 1-10-1 in 1941-42.
"Nobody likes losing," said Canadiens forward Erik Cole, who scored his first goal for Montreal on Monday.
"We're tired of it. We need to just find a way to get over the hump."
That's particularly true at the Bell Centre, where the Canadiens have gone 0-3-2 to post the worst home start in franchise history. The only other Eastern Conference team which hasn't won a home game is the New York Rangers, but they have yet to play one.
The Canadiens have scored one or no goals in five games, though it hasn't been for a lack of scoring chances. Montreal had 41 shots Monday — the third time in five games it had at least that many — and is averaging 33.9 to rank second in the East behind the Boston Bruins (34.5).
"We're getting the shots, but it just seems that it's never enough," Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges told the team's official website. "When you look at the chances we had, I can't believe the puck didn't go in.
"One of these games it will have to fall for us. But until it happens, we have to find a way and do some things differently."
Making matters worse, Montreal's leading scorer, Max Pacioretty, left in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return. His status for Wednesday is uncertain.
Backup netminder Peter Budaj made 29 saves for the Canadiens in giving Carey Price his first night off. Price, 0-3-2 with a 3.75 goals-against average since earning his 99th NHL win on Oct. 9 versus Winnipeg, is 0-3-0 with a 4.07 GAA in his last three starts versus the Flyers.
As for Pronger, he was hit in the right eye with an accidental high stick in a 4-2 win over Toronto on Monday and is expected to miss two to three weeks. He complained of blurred vision and will spend the next few days on bed rest.
"I think he was very scared and rightly so," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "When something like that happens to your eye, you're worried about what's going on.
"I think he settled down over a period of time and was fine when he left."
Pronger has six assists to lead the Flyers (5-2-1). He was limited to 25 points in 50 games during the 2010-11 regular season due to injuries and missed all but three of their 11 playoff games.
Despite his scary injury, Philadelphia avoided a third straight loss. Danny Briere notched his 600th career point by assisting on Scott Hartnell's second-period goal, and Jaromir Jagr had two goals to end his drought.
Jagr hadn't scored in the NHL since April 6, 2008, while with the New York Rangers. He also added his fifth assist of the season on Hartnell's second goal in the third period.
"I thought I was going to play better than I did, that's for sure," Jagr said of going scoreless in his first seven games.
"After a while, you're mentally tired and you're pressing and you just can't score [and] you stop playing your game. A lot of stuff is mental, trust me."
The Flyers have won three in a row and nine of 12 against the Canadiens (1-5-2), who have lost six straight following a 2-1 defeat to Florida on Monday.
Philadelphia netminder Ilya Bryzgalov is 0-2-1 with a 3.33 GAA lifetime versus Montreal.