MONTREAL - The Flyers equaled a franchise record last night for allowing the fewest shots - 13 - in a road game.
Amazingly, it didn't translate into a victory.
Montreal took advantage of two second-period defensive lapses, added a late power-play goal, and defeated the Flyers, 3-1, 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.
"I thought for 40 minutes we played the game pretty hard," Laviolette said. "We made two mistakes in the second period, and they ended up in our net. The third period, I thought the pace fell off for us."
The Flyers outshot the hosts by 15-13 - the smallest number of combined shots in both the Flyers' and Montreal's history. Montreal had just one first-period shot.
The Flyers were 0 for 4 on the power play and are 0 for 19 with the extra skater in the last five games.
"We played real well defensively, but I think we're over-thinking our offensive game right now," right winger Ian Laperriere said.
A power-play goal by Montreal defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron with 8 minutes, 55 seconds left made it 3-1.
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.
Laviolette tinkered with his lines last night, 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 27 games) was with Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell.
"We've got to come out of cycles. We have to come out of face-offs. We have to learn how to shoot off the wing on the rush," Laviolette said. "We have to get more traffic to the net. There's a whole list of things we need to do to create more offense."
The right-swing switches generated some good chances in the first 40 minutes, but the Flyers were lifeless in the final period.
"It is frustrating not scoring goals," Richards said.