<
>

Huet, Canadiens shut out Flyers; Ryder scores first hat trick

MONTREAL (AP) -- Cristobal Huet continues to give the Montreal
Canadiens the kind of goaltending they expected to get from Jose
Theodore.

Huet recorded his second shutout in as many days, and Michael
Ryder got his first career hat trick to lead the Canadiens to a 5-0
win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

Huet, who got his first Montreal shutout in Saturday's 2-0 win
over Boston, made 25 saves to win consecutive games for the first
time since March 9-10, 2004, when he was with Los Angeles and swept
the Phoenix Coyotes in back-to-back games.

The 30-year-old Frenchman posted his sixth career shutout while
making his third straight start since replacing struggling starter
Theodore in three of the Canadiens' previous four games.

"That's what I'm here for," Huet said. "We have two goalies
and when needed, we've got to step up and do the job. The matter is
to help the team right now, that's what we need."

Huet lowered his goals-against-average to 2.47, and his save
percentage to .926, while improving his record to 5-5-1 in 14
games. Theodore, the 2001-02 league MVP, is 17-15-5 with a 3.46
goals-against-average and an .881 save percentage.

The consecutive shutouts were the first by a Montreal goalie
since Theodore accomplished the feat Feb. 5 and 7, 2002 with a pair
of 1-0 wins in New Jersey and over Pittsburgh, respectively.

"We gave him a pretty easy night," Flyers forward Turner
Stevenson said. "When I look down and he's stretching halfway
through the game because he's only seen 11 shots, you know, we made
it pretty easy on him. You could have put basically anybody in net
and we never really had anything until the third period."

Ryder scored on a power play midway through the first, ending a
personal seven-game goal drought in the process. He added his
second of the game just 40 seconds into the third to put the
Canadiens up 3-0 and got his third goal -- his team-leading 23rd --
on a 5-on-3 advantage at 16:52.

"Since it was my first one the guys hit me on the head a couple
of times and I don't know if I've got a concussion," Ryder said of
the hat trick celebration that prompted about a dozen fans to toss
baseball caps on the ice. "It's kind of cool to get it under my
belt."

Jan Bulis and Sheldon Souray also scored for Montreal, which
evened its record under GM and head coach Bob Gainey at 6-6.

Philadelphia, playing with an injury-decimated lineup, lost its
third in a row and has lost five of six (1-4-1).

"It was disappointment more than frustration," Flyers captain
Derian Hatcher said.

Already playing without Peter Forsberg, Keith Primeau, Eric
Desjardins and Kim Johnsson, the Flyers lost defenseman Mike Rathje
to a groin strain during the game after losing Petr Nedved and
Chris Therrien to injury Saturday.

Nedved left the Flyers' 4-3 overtime loss to the New York
Rangers with a groin injury and Therrien also left the game because
of an undisclosed head injury.

Montreal has played a pair of home matinees during Super Bowl
weekend every season since 1990-91. The weekend sweep improved the
Canadiens' record in those games to 15-9-4 overall.

Ryder, who hadn't scored since reaching 20 goals in a 6-2 loss
in Vancouver on Jan. 21, scored his 21st goal 11:14 in when he put
Saku Koivu's pass beyond Antero Niitymaki on the first power-play
opportunity of the game.

Bulis, who scored a career-high four goals in a 5-3 win in
Philadelphia last month, got his 14th of the season 10:42 into the
second as the result of a turnover in the Flyers' zone.

Tomas Plekanec intercepted rookie Philadelphia defenseman Freddy
Meyers' clearing pass at the blue line and drove to the net,
dishing off a pass to Bulis, who beat Niitymaki with a quick shot
after Meyers collided with Plekanec.

"My performance today was unacceptable," Meyers said.

Steve Begin made a fine pass to set up Montreal's third goal
early in the third as Ryder steered the puck into an open right
side.

Souray got his fifth of the season at 6:23 to make it 4-0 before
Ryder scored his third of the game with 3:08 left in the third.

Game notes
The Flyers have lost three and tied two while taking part
in five games over the course of Montreal's 15 Super Bowl matinee
weekends. ... Philadelphia was 0-for-5 on the power play. Montreal
was 2-for-6. ... The Canadiens have three shutouts this season,
though none by Theodore. Rookie Yann Danis got the shutout in his
NHL start Oct. 12, a 2-0 win in Atlanta. ... The Canadiens are 4-1
at home under Gainey, who moved behind the bench after firing head
coach Claude Julien on Jan. 14. ... Montreal has sold out each of
its 25 home games.