Flyers top Montreal 3-1 for 10th straight home win

Philadelphia Flyers' Michael Raffl, right, of Austria, celebrates with Claude Giroux after Raffl scored during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
January 8, 2014 7:40:52 PM PST
Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo and Michael Raffl scored to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to their 10th straight home victory, 3-1 over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

The surging Flyers returned home after a 5-1 trip that sent them to fourth in the Eastern Conference. Brushing off 1-7 and 4-10-1 starts to become one of the hottest teams in the NHL, they are 9-2 since Dec. 17 and have found new life under coach Craig Berube.

The Flyers haven't lost at home since Nov. 7 against New Jersey. They're on their longest home winning streak since they won 11 straight Oct. 27-Dec. 5, 2003.

Steve Mason was again sensational in goal, stopping 19 shots for his 18th win.

Tomas Plekanec scored for the Canadiens.

For whatever reason, most notably the coaching change from Peter Laviolette to Berube, the Flyers are simply a different team over the last three months. The offense that failed to score more than two goals in a game though each of the first nine games has scored at least three in 11 of 12.

Rinaldo even chipped in from the fourth line.

Known more scrapping his way into the lineup, and taking a seat in the penalty box, Rinaldo scored on a backhander late in the first for his first goal since Nov. 7, 2013. He has six goal in 142 career games.

"The boys have been really supportive of me," Rinaldo said. "You just got to put pucks on the net and that's what I did and it went in for me."

He stretched the lead after Couturier tipped one in for his eighth goal of the season 6:27 into the game, just the latest two-goal lead for the Flyers.

Raffl beat goalie Peter Budaj for his third goal of the season in the second for a 3-0 lead.

Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros had three assists.

"All the defensemen are trying to jump up into the play, whoever has the chance," he said. "That's the game now, and if you want to attack and you have the D join in, it's a big advantage to score a goal."

Plekanec scored a short-handed goal for Montreal in the second to cut it to 3-1. Mason, though, was flawless in the third and the Canadiens could never seriously rally.

Notes: Flyers F Matt Read sat out with a concussion. ... Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren was disappointed captain Claude Giroux failed to make the Olympic team for Canada. "I would say that I was a little bit surprised," Holmgren said. "I know how badly he wanted to be made to the team. It's a tough call, a lot of good players to be chosen from."

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