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Another Philly defenseman goes down

1/21/2004

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jose Theodore's steady play has the Montreal Canadiens rising in the standings and thinking about first place in
the Eastern Conference.

Theodore made 22 saves and Richard Zednik scored two power-play
goals to lead the Canadiens to a 4-1 win over the
Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

"I think I am playing the same way. It just seems lately that
we are playing better as a team," Theodore said.

Jan Bulis had one goal and Michael Ryder added a goal and two
assists for the Canadiens, who won for the fourth time in five
games (4-0-1) and have only one loss since Dec. 27.

Theodore was never really threatened, but he made a nice stick
save off a one-timer by Simon Gagne midway through the second
period. He lost his shutout when Gagne scored with 1:18 left.

Theodore is 12-4-5 in his last 21 starts.

"I think we played one of our best games all season," Theodore
said.

The Canadiens (24-16-6) are only five points behind Toronto for
first place in both the Northeast Division and the Eastern
Conference.

"Today I was watching the other teams and everybody was
winning," Zednik said. "Before I was looking behind, but now
we're getting closer and closer. We have big games ahead of us."

Montreal changed its offensive approach against a Flyers
defensive corps ravaged by injury.

"We kept putting the puck in deep. We wanted to make sure we
took advantage of a depleted defensive corps," Montreal coach
Claude Julien said. "I think that was the key."

The Flyers addressed their concerns before the game, acquiring
defenseman Danny Markov from the Carolina Hurricanes for right wing
Justin Williams. Markov was in the starting lineup.

"I was a little bit shocked, but I know it's part of the
business," Markov said of the deal. "Nothing surprises me anymore
in the NHL. I try not to think about it. I try just to concentrate
on my game and play."

Dennis Seidenberg is out at least three months with a broken
left leg; Eric Desjardins will miss at least two months with a
broken right forearm; and Marcus Ragnarsson will miss up to two
weeks because of a sprained left rotator cuff.

It got worse Tuesday when another Flyers defenseman, Jim Vandermeer, was forced out late in the first period when he separated his right shoulder while being checked hard into the boards by Saku Koivu.

Chris Therien also missed some shifts in the third period after
he took a stick to the face.

"It's a tough time for us right now," Flyers coach Ken
Hitchcock said. "Regrouping is going to become important. I don't
think we can lose sight of the fact that we were checked hard today
and we didn't respond the way I would have liked."

Montreal took a 1-0 lead at 8:28 of the first when Flyers goalie
Robert Esche, who stopped 18 shots, could not control the puck in a
scramble in front of the net and Zednik dumped it in.

Zednik's second goal came 21 seconds into a power play in the
second period when he took a centering pass from Ryder and flipped
it in for a 2-0 lead. Zednik also missed a penalty shot in the
second period, shooting just right of the net, after being taken
down by Therien.

Zednik thought more about the one he missed than the goals he
scored.

"Coach told me, 'Go between his legs,' and that was on my mind
all the way," Zednik said, smiling.

Bulis added his 10th goal in the third. Koivu made a nice pass
from behind the net to Bulis, who scored from the left circle.

Ryder scored with 1 minute left in the game.

Game notes
LW Todd Fedoruk played in his 200th NHL game, all with the
Flyers. ... Montreal snapped a six-game losing streak against the
Flyers, beating them for the first time since April 4, 2002, in
Philadelphia. ... The Canadiens had a goal waved off because a high
stick knocked the puck into the net.