MONTREAL (AP) — Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first career hat trick, and the Montreal Canadiens dealt the stumbling Philadelphia Flyers their eighth straight defeat with a 9-3 blowout win Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old Slafkovsky put Montreal up 4-0 with his third goal on a breakaway midway through the second period and received a deafening standing ovation from the Bell Centre crowd when the goal was announced.

Christian Dvorak — in his return from a 42-game absence — and Brendan Gallagher both scored twice while Josh Anderson and Joel Armia also found the back of the net for Montreal. Sam Montembeault made 33 saves and Jordan Harris had three assists as the Canadiens snapped a three-game skid.

Ryan Poehling had two goals and Joel Farabee also scored for Philadelphia, which suffered another blow to its end-of-season playoff chase.

Samuel Ersson stopped 12 of 17 shots before getting the hook in the second period. Backup Ivan Fedotov turned away 9 of 13.

The Flyers entered play Tuesday one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and two points back of the New York Islanders for third in the Metropolitan Division with one more game played.

They fell out of a playoff spot for the first time in months after Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Columbus and have three games remaining in the regular season.

Flyers captain Sean Couturier returned from missing two games with a shoulder injury.

The Canadiens announced Tuesday morning that defenseman Arber Xhekaj would have left shoulder surgery on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Xhekaj was injured in a 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last Thursday and will undergo shoulder surgery for a second straight season. A procedure on his right shoulder in February 2023 cut his 2022-23 campaign short. The Canadiens expect the rugged blueliner to recover in time for the start of next season.


Flyers: Finish a four-game road trip against the New York Rangers on Thursday.

Canadiens: Start their last road trip of the season against the New York Islanders on Thursday.