Montreal Canadiens' goalie Cary Price deflects the puck. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Rusty Kennedy
PHILADELPHIA - After playing defence in the early part of the season, Mark Streit is back where he likes it - right in the middle of the Montreal Canadiens' offence.
Streit scored two goals and rookie goalie Carey Price made 29 saves in the Canadiens' 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
"I played defenceman for about 25 games because we had a couple of injuries," explained Streit, who scored his first goals in 22 games. "When the coach put me up front, I didn't maybe shoot as much as I wanted to, but finally tonight I scored twice and it's a great feeling for my confidence."
Christopher Higgins and Andrei Kostitsyn also scored, and Tomas Plekanec had two assists for the Canadiens, who ended a two-game losing streak.
"It seemed like they (Flyers) blocked 20 of their own shots, but we got in the shooting lanes very well tonight," Higgins explained. "I thought we had great backchecking and kept them to the outside."
Mike Knuble scored for the Flyers, who had ended their five-game home losing streak with an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
The Canadiens, Knuble said, "Just kind of put us to sleep there and it was kind of tough for us to get going. It was tough to match the intensity of the other game (Pittsburgh). They played well. They blocked a lot of shots and they deserved to win the game tonight."
The Flyers opened the season with six straight wins at home but are only 1-4-2 in Philadelphia since then. Moreover, the Flyers have been in a win one, lose one rut for the past ten games.
"It's frustrating," Philadelphia captain Jason Smith said. "As a group we talked about it. We just got to get over the hump. We are just making some mental errors and not competing when we need to in order to put wins together."
Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said that the Canadiens played 60 minutes of solid hockey which they didn't do in their 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
"We really skated well," Carbonneau said. "We got out of our zone pretty quickly and we were able to make good plays in the neutral zone to put the puck behind their defencemen and take advantage of our speed."
Price, who was Montreal's first pick (fifth overall) in the 2005 NHL entry draft, improved his record to 8-5. He made his fifth straight start in place of Cristobal Huet, who pulled his groin during a 5-4 shootout loss to Nashville on Dec. 1.
Price was tested late in the second period and early in the third when he blanked the Flyers on three straight power plays including a two-man advantage for 2:01.
The 20-year-old goalie said that blocked shots by his Montreal teammates proved the difference.
"It's nice to see when we jump out to an early lead, we have guys who are still laying in front of shots," Price said. "It shows a lot of character to be able to sacrifice the body when you're up by four goals."
Antero Niittymaki, who made his sixth start for Philadelphia, stopped 19 shots.
Higgins put the Canadiens ahead at 8:17 of the first period on a power play. He flipped in a rebound of a shot by Andrei Markov from just inside the right circle.
Montreal broke the game open with three goals in the second period, two of them by Streit.
Kostitsyn redirected a pass from Plekanec 21 seconds into the period.
Streit scored on a power play after taking a pass from behind the net from Alex Kovalev at 5:01. He then hit a wide open net at 9:58 for his fourth goal of the season.
Knuble made it 4-1 on a power play at 15:52 of the period when Mike Richards' pass bounced off his right skate into the net.