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Game 2, 7:00 P.M.: Canadiens Hope To Rebound, Steal A Game In Philadelphia

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to bounce back from an embarrassing loss in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for Game 2 tonight at Wachovia Center.

The Flyers notched a 6-0 victory on home ice in Game 1 to take the early lead in the best-of-seven series. For the Canadiens, it was their worst loss to start a series since 1919.

It was a lopsided start to a surprising conference finals matchup, as Philadelphia and the Habs are battling for the East title despite being the seventh and eighth-seeded teams in the conference, respectively. This series marks the first time since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994 that the bottom two seeds in either conference will play a series with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line.

Michael Leighton made 28 saves on Sunday to earn his first career playoff shutout, and six different Flyers scored in the blowout victory.

Leighton, who has played in four games and started three since Brian Boucher went down with a knee injury in Game 5 of the conference semifinals against Boston, improved to 3-0 in this postseason. Philadelphia, which remarkably recovered from an 0-3 series deficit to defeat the Bruins in Round 2, has now ripped off five straight playoff wins for the first time since a six-game stretch in 1995.

"I'm obviously happy the way things went. It makes it easier when we score that many goals," Leighton said. "I was seeing a lot of the pucks. They don't have a big presence like Boston did...I just had to make the saves I should make in the first (period), and we kind of went from there."

Braydon Coburn, Scott Hartnell, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Danny Briere each posted a goal and an assist in the resounding victory. Simon Gagne also scored for the Flyers, who will look to take a two-game series before the series shift to Montreal for Games 3 and 4.

"You have to stay grounded," Briere said. "It's just one game. We know (the Canadiens are) going to come back a lot stronger in their next game. The goal was to keep home-ice advantage, so we're halfway there. We need to win the next game at home, and we need to concentrate on that. We have to clear our minds -- we're happy about (this win), but let's move on and concentrate on the next one."

Jaroslav Halak, who helped the Habs notch unlikely series victories over Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington and defending champion Pittsburgh, was scorched for four goals on only 14 shots. Carey Price made nine saves in relief of Halak, who was pulled midway through the second period.

"It's a matter of adjusting our game and raising our level of intensity," said Habs head coach Jacques Martin. "Tonight, we didn't play a team game. We played an individual game, and you can't be successful that way."

Halak, who still has an excellent .927 save percentage in the playoffs, had his worst outing since giving up five goals in the opener of Montreal's conference semifinals series against Pittsburgh. Despite the shaky performance in Game 1 of this series, Halak is expected to get the start tonight.

The Flyers are 5-1 as the host in this year's playoffs after going 24-14-3 in Philadelphia during the regular season. This matchup marks the first time the Flyers have begun a series with home-ice advantage in the post-lockout era.

Montreal was 19-17-5 on the road prior to the start of the playoffs and 5-4 as the guest in the postseason. The Canadiens will host the Flyers in Game 3 on Thursday.

On the injury front, there have been rumors flying around about the possible return of key players for both Philadelphia and Montreal.

Reports out of Canada are saying the Montreal's top defenseman Andrei Markov, who has been out since injuring his right knee in Game 1 against Pittsburgh, will not be able to return for this series.

For the Flyers, there had been rumors that forward Jeff Carter, who had foot surgery on April 23, would be back for Game 2 or 3 of this series, but Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren denied those reports, saying it was "a stretch" that the sniper could return for this series. Carter, the club's leading goal- scorer during the regular season, has been sidelined since April 20, when he broke his foot in Game 4 of the conference quarterfinals against New Jersey.

Philadelphia forward Ian Laperriere could also be close to returning from a brain contusion suffered in Game 5 against New Jersey. He has resumed skating, but still needs to be cleared by doctors before seeing game action.