MONTREAL - Minus a certain outspoken captain, the Flyers' dressing room was a little more quiet, and their defensive rotation was a lot more unstable on Wednesday night.

Welcome to the team's latest version of Life Without Pronger.

Like they did 32 times during last year's regular season, the Flyers played without star defenseman Chris Pronger when they faced the free-falling Canadiens.

If Wednesday's result is any indication, it's going to be a bumpy two or three weeks for the Flyers. After a strong first period, the Flyers were badly outplayed in a 5-1 loss to the Canadiens at the earsplitting Bell Centre.

Winger Max Pacioretty, who was a game-time decision because of a wrist injury, scored two goals for Montreal, and goalie Carey Price notched his 100th career win as the Habs ended a six-game losing streak.

"There were lots of funny bounces tonight," said losing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who has allowed 14 goals in his last three starts - all losses. "I don't know what to say. We're trying hard, but it seems everything goes to the net instead of to the side."

Coach Peter Laviolette absolved Bryzgalov of the blame.

"We went out in the second period and got away from everything we were doing as far as skating and putting pucks in the right areas," he said. "Basically, we just turned it over too much. I think four of the five goals were direct results of turnovers."

The Flyers were 31-14-5 with Pronger in the lineup last season; without him, they were 16-9-7.

Put another way: They won only half of their 32 games when they were missing their defensive leader/team engine.

"Obviously, we are going to miss Prongs, but it shouldn't change anybody's game," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said before the game.

Defensemen Matt Walker and Andreas Lilja were part of the Flyers' new-look rotation. Walker struggled, and there is a chance he will be sent to Adirondack and the Flyers will recall Oskars Bartulis and Erik Gustafsson.

The Flyers controlled most of the first period, before a late lapse led to a Montreal goal - a point shot by defenseman Yannick Weber with 2.6 seconds left in the stanza - to knot the score at 1. Lilja was in the penalty box for interference when Weber scored after the Flyers missed a few chances to clear the puck out of the zone.

Jaromir Jagr gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, scoring on a one-timer from the left circle after taking a feed from Matt Carle.

If they hadn't missed some open nets, the Flyers could have had an early 3-0 lead.

"We had missed opportunities . . . and it could have been a different game," said Wayne Simmonds, who couldn't convert on one of those early chances. "But you have to get past that. We have another game [Thursday against visiting Winnipeg]. That's the beauty of this league."

Montreal was off to its worst start (1-5-2) in 70 years - and its worst home start ever (0-3-2). That prompted the firing of assistant Perry Pearn before the game. Pearn was responsible for the power play, which was an abysmal 3 for 32 entering the night.

Sparked by their goal at the end of the first period, the Canadiens dominated the second period. The Habs took a 2-1 lead when Andrei Kostitsyn scored from a scramble in front of the net after the puck appeared to deflect off Simmonds.

Price, who had lost five straight, stopped Claude Giroux from the doorstep with 7 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second. Twenty-seven seconds later, Pacioretty gave the Canadiens a 3-1 lead by converting a juicy rebound.