Sergei Kostitsyn and his Montreal Canadiens teammates gained a measure of revenge with Monday night's 5-3 win over the hometown Philadelphia Flyers.
The second-year left-winger set up two goals, including the winner by Robert Lang, to help the Canadiens erase some of the memory of a five-game series loss at the hands of the Flyers in Round 2 of last season's Stanley Cup playoffs.
Kostitsyn's brother, Andrei, opened the scoring 54 seconds into the second period and was one of five goal scorers for Montreal, which heads home for Wednesday's home opener against Boston with a 2-0-1 record.
Defencemen Roman Hamrlik and Mike Komisarek, along with Lang and Steve Begin — into an empty net — also scored for the Canadiens, who scored four times in the third period to wipe out a 2-1 deficit.
"Going into the third period being down to the team that knocked us out last year, and finding a way to win, that definitely says a lot about the guys on the team and should give us more confidence," Komisarek said.
Hamrlik made it 2-2 at the 78-second mark of the third period, redirecting a pretty feed by Alex Kovalev into an open net. Forty-four seconds later, a harmless looking point shot off the stick of Komisarek deflected off Flyers forward Scottie Upshall's stick and over Martin Biron.
"For some reason, those tips never seem to go in the other net," Upshall said. "They go into yours."
Montreal, which led the NHL last season with 262 goals, has found the back of the net 11 times in its past two games following a season-opening 2-1 shootout loss at Buffalo.
Goaltender Carey Price picked up his first victory of the young season, stopping eight of nine shots over the final 20 minutes and 29 overall. He also boasts a 4-0-0 career regular-season record against Philadelphia.
"It's in the back of your mind that it's still the team that put us out last year and you're going to have a little bit of a grudge, but it's a new year," Price said.
Jaroslav Halak drew the netminding assignment against Toronto on Saturday, a 6-1 Canadiens triumph that also saw five different players score.
On Monday, Lang buried the puck into an open net at 13:40 of the third period on a pretty pass to the slot by Sergei Kostitsyn, who started the play by picking up his own rebound before dishing.
"There's no excuse when you give up three goals in the third period and give a team a chance to get back in like that. It should never happen," said Biron, who was benched in the first period Saturday after giving up four quick goals to the New York Rangers.
Begin sealed the Flyers' fate with 35 seconds left in regulation after Philadelphia head coach John Stevens pulled Biron for an extra attacker in the final minute.
"The first game is kind of a write-off for me," Stevens said of Biron, who posted a 2.79 goals-against average against Montreal in last spring's post-season matchup. "I thought he was much better tonight. He looked like his old self, made a couple of big saves."
The win was Montreal's seventh in its last eight regular-season visits to the Wachovia Center.
After Lang's goal, forward Simon Gagne, coming off a lost 2007-08 season with a concussion, scored to close the Flyers to within 4-3.
Jeff Carter and Mike Richards answered Andrei Kostitsyn's opening score early in the second period for a Philadelphia outfit that already trails the first-place Rangers by a whopping 10 points in the Atlantic Division standings.
"A lot of people are talking about Montreal as the 'Pride of the East,' and I thought for 40 minutes we really showed that we could be a good team against a good team," Stevens said. "That is the step we want to take."
Earlier Monday, the Flyers acquired defenceman Andrew Alberts from the Boston Bruins for a minor leaguer and a draft pick.With files from the Associated Press