MONTREAL - The Flyers' tailspin continued tonight as they lost, 3-1, to the Montreal Canadiens before a roaring sellout crowd at the Bell Centre.

Peter Laviolette, in his second game as the team's coach, had his 45th birthday ruined as the punchless Flyers lost for the eighth time in their last nine contests.

It was the fifth straight defeat for the Legion of Gloom. In that span, they have scored a total of five goals.

The Flyers (13-13-1) managed just two third-period shots against a Montreal team that took a losing record into the game.

Still, the Flyers outshot the hosts, 15-13. They were 0 for 4 on the power play and are 0 for 19 with the extra skater in the last five games.

A power-play goal by Montreal defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron with 8 minutes, 55 seconds left made it 3-1 and secured the win.

Second-period goals by Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri put Montreal ahead, 2-1. The Canadiens took that one-goal lead into the third period even though they had managed just seven shots against Brian Boucher in the first 40 minutes.

The Flyers weren't exactly putting much pressure on Montreal goalie Carey Price, either. It took them nearly 71/2 minutes to get their first shot, but Danny Briere made it count with a highlight-film score.

Briere went in on a breakaway and, as he was hooked from behind by Ryan O'Byrne and falling to the ice, lifted a shot over Price's glove with 12:32 left in the first period, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

Winning board battles and seldom allowing the Canadiens to set up in the offensive zone, the Flyers allowed just one first-period shot. It was the first time they had permitted just one shot in a period since a Nov. 26 game at Carolina last year.

Montreal, taking advantage of a defensive breakdown, tied it on a goal by Kostitsyn with 13:40 left in the second period.

Tomas Plekanec was behind the net and was pursued by defenseman Braydon Coburn. Plekanec fired a pass out front that Kostitsyn knocked past Boucher.

The Flyers were coming off Saturday's 8-2 loss to Washington, a game in which they surrendered four power-play goals - and seemed to still be in shock over the firing of popular coach John Stevens.

"I think that's a fair assessment, but we're professionals and we're supposed to prepare, regardless," Boucher said before the game. "And when you get a nine-minute penalty kill against a team that has a deadly power play, I think that set us back. It was one of those games where every possible thing that could go wrong did go wrong."

In that game, Boucher relieved the struggling Ray Emery, who has a 5.36 goals-against average in the last five games. After yesterday's morning skate, Emery again was noncommunicative with the media.

Boucher and Price weren't busy in a tight-checking first period in which the Flyers outshot the Habs, 4-1.

Laviolette tinkered with his lines tonight, flip-flopping right wingers Briere and Claude Giroux from the previous game. Briere was with Jeff Carter and James van Riemsdyk, and Giroux (three goals in 26 games before tonight) was with Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell.