Series (Game 3 of 4)

Montreal leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, October 13th
Game 2: Saturday, November 15th
Game 3: Thursday, December 18th
Game 4: Friday, February 27th

Flyers 2

(17-8-6, 40 pts)

Canadiens 5

(17-9-5, 39 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 18, 2008

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
PHI 1 0 12
MTL 3 1 15

A. Kovalev (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Kostitsyn (Canadiens - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

G. Latendresse (Canadiens - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Kovalev reaches milestone as Habs end Flyers' streak

Associated Press

MONTREAL -- Alexei Kovalev is hitting heights that are surprising him. Getting there after the worst scoring slump of his career has made it that much sweeter.

Fast Facts

• The Canadiens improved to 10-4-3 at home this season.

• The Flyers had won their last meeting against Montreal (Nov. 15) after losing the previous seven meetings vs. the Habs.

• Philadelphia has earned a point in 16 of its last 18 games (13-2-3).

-- ESPN research

Kovalev scored a goal to reach 900 NHL points and Sergei Kostitsyn and Steve Begin each had a goal and an assist to help the Montreal Canadiens end Philadelphia's five-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory over the Flyers on Thursday night.

The Russian right winger scored for the second game in a row. He ended his 19-game goal drought Tuesday night in Montreal's 3-2 loss at Carolina.

"I scored that first goal and now I've got 900 points," said Kovalev, who is wearing the captain's "C" while Saku Koivu is sidelined. "I can't even think about it. It's hard to really imagine that I've been in the league 16 years and I've got 900 points. It probably takes a couple of days to really realize it."

Matt D'Agostini, Kostitsyn and Begin scored in the opening period for the Canadiens, who ended a three-game losing streak. Guillaume Latendresse also scored for the second game in a row on a power play late in the third.

Jaroslav Halak made his fifth straight start for Montreal and stopped 30 shots.

Arron Asham scored in the first period and assisted on Braydon Coburn's goal in the third for Philadelphia, which had not lost in regulation in seven games (6-0-1).

"You can't win them all," Flyers center Jeff Carter said. "We got off to a slow start, but we picked it up there as the game rolled on and we got some chances. We were shooting high and wide a lot, and their goalie played well. That's about it."

Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek returned to the lineup and assisted on Kovalev's goal after missing 16 games because of a shoulder injury.

"There's no feeling like being on the ice and getting in the mix of things and stirring things up a little," said Komisarek, who dressed in street clothes and assisted the coaching staff through the first four games of Montreal's recent seven-game homestand.

There were more injury woes for the Canadiens, though. Left winger Andrei Kostitsyn missed a couple shifts in the second period and didn't come out for the third. He was diagnosed with an undisclosed lower body injury that will be re-evaluated by the team's medical staff on Friday.

D'Agostini opened the scoring with his fifth goal six minutes in.

The rookie forward got behind defenseman Matt Carle and received Maxim Lapierre's long cross-ice pass from the Canadiens' zone. He drove the left side before cutting toward the net and beating Antero Niittymaki with a quick shot for his fifth goal in nine games.

"That was a good one," D'Agostini said of Lapierre's pass. "I just busted wide. I yelled for it and he saucered that one perfectly."

Kostitsyn made it a two-goal lead with a power-play goal at 10:33 when he took Robert Lang's return pass and one-timed a slap shot past Niittymaki from the left point.

Kostitsyn got his second straight point with an assist on a goal by Begin, who increased Montreal's lead to 3-0. He deflected Tom Kostopoulos' shot from the right side for his fifth of the season at 15:26.

"When I saw the puck there and T.K. going to get it, I just skated for him to shoot at an angle and he put it right on my stick, so it was an easy goal for me," Begin said.

Asham scored 32 seconds later to draw Philadelphia to 3-1.

D'Agostini hit the right post when he shot off a turnover in the Flyers' zone early in the second.

Kovalev restored the Canadiens' three-goal margin at 6:20 when he drove in on a breakaway and put a low shot past Niittymaki inside the right post.

Coburn scored his third goal 13:28 into the third to draw Philadelphia to 4-2.

Latendresse scored for the second game in a row on a power play at 18:57.

Montreal played the first of three straight home games. The Canadiens are on a 5-2-1 run at the Bell Centre during a stretch of 10 of 11 home games that included a seven-game stay that ended Saturday with a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. That wrapped up the longest homestand in the team's 100-year history.

Game notes

Asham's point shot broke a pane of glass above the boards directly behind the Canadiens' goal 15:14 into the third. The game was delayed for six minutes while the maintenance crew replaced the glass and cleaned the ice. ... Philadelphia center Mike Richards ended an eight-game point streak. The Flyers captain had seven goals and eight assists in that stretch. ... Kovalev has 325 goals and 475 assists in 1,104 regular-season games with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and Montreal.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press