Ottawa Senators

Flyers finally earn a point ... but let another one get away

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Flyers finally earn a point ... but let another one get away

The Flyers were able to slow down the bleeding, but they continue to hemorrhage points.

Nolan Patrick capped a furious third-period comeback when he scored the game-tying goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in regulation in helping the Flyers earn their first point since Jan. 23, but they failed to pick up that crucial second point, losing to the Senators 4-3 in a shootout (see observations).

“The puck just bounced at my feet and I knew the goalie was down and out,” Patrick said. “We were just lucky enough to get enough guys at the net to get a bounce.”

“It’s a big point,” Claude Giroux said. “We worked hard to come back in the game and tie the game up. I think the third period was one of our best periods this year. We really grinded it out and started playing our game.”

However, their overtime luck also dried up after winning their last three in OT. Not only did the Flyers fail to manage a shot on goal during the five-minute overtime session, but they were collectively 0-for-6 in the shootout. Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman scored the only goal in round six of the shootout to give the Senators the win.

“We need to play a 60-minute game to earn those two points,” said Sean Couturier, who scored his 27th goal of the season. “Tonight, the first 20 minutes were probably questionable. We battled hard to get a big point. It would be nice to get two.” 

The Flyers have managed to earn just that one point during their current four-game losing streak after previously winning four straight, but they have now allowed 17 goals over their last four games — the most they’ve surrendered in regulation during any four-game stretch this season.

Not only are breakdowns resulting in goals, but the opposition is also cashing in on costly turnovers and mistakes. The Senators, who are now 12-23-5 since the last time they faced the Flyers in November, have been routinely outshot this season. Their success has been mainly the result of capitalizing off opponent’s mistakes and to underscore that point the Flyers had 79 shot attempts to the Senators' 44.

“Through this last stretch of four games we’re doing a lot of good things in our play with the puck,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “We’re not giving up a ton defensively, but one of the things we need to do and we can do within our control was clean up some of the ‘A’ opportunities. For me, the first goal against is an example.”

On that goal, the Flyers lost a puck battle deep in the Senators' offensive zone. However, the problem was compounded as the Senators made a clean breakout which led to a 3-on-2 and eventually a 4-on-3 goal with Matt Duchene skating cleanly around Scott Laughton and beating Alex Lyon top shelf.

“That’s a puck that I felt we should have been able to win down in the offensive zone. That’s where it starts by not being able to hold down that puck, and then that turns into a 200-foot play, and that’s a tough play for our goaltender.”

The comeback may not have been possible unless Hakstol had also successfully challenged Ottawa’s 4-1 goal in the final minute of the second period. Duchene thought he had scored his second goal, but replay concluded he was clearly offsides when the puck re-entered the Flyers zone.

“I started laughing as soon as they challenged,” Duchene said. “I was hoping they weren’t gonna challenge because I think they were wishy-washy about it at first.”

Looking to provide an additional boost, Hakstol also replaced Lyon with Michael Neuvirth to begin the third period with the Flyers trailing 3-1.

“I felt good today,” Lyon said, who stopped 20 of 23 shots, “I felt like I had good preparation. It didn’t obviously end up the way that I anticipated, or hope it would. Neuvy did a great job coming in. All I can do is focus on when I get in there. The boys did a great job battling back. It’s a big point.”

Neuvirth was perfect over the final 25 minutes, stopping just six shots, and was 5-for-6 in the dreaded shootout. However, Neuvirth admitted he still has lingering effects from a week-long stomach bug. Right now the Flyers would greatly benefit from a more stabilizing presence in net as Brian Elliott has missed the last four games, all Flyers losses, with a lower-body injury.

“I think we’ve had that for the majority of the year,” Hakstol said. “Elliott has been rock solid for us, and that’s very important to have leadership in the goaltending position.”

Poor shootout thwarts Flyers' comeback effort

Poor shootout thwarts Flyers' comeback effort

BOX SCORE

Sure, you can call it a comeback … sort of. 

The Flyers erased a two-goal deficit as rookie Nolan Patrick scored the game-tying goal with 2.9 seconds remaining in regulation before Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman scored the only goal in round six of the shootout to give the Senators a 4-3 victory.

Matt Duchene opened the scoring and center Derick Brassard increased Ottawa’s lead to 2-0 just 39 seconds later. It was the third straight game the Flyers had allowed a pair of first period goals.

However, the turning point came when Duchene’s potential 4-1 goal was disallowed in the final minute of the second period after video review had determined he was offsides on the play.

Goaltender Alex Lyon started his second straight game, but was pulled after 40 minutes and replaced by Michal Neuvirth. Lyon stopped 20 of the 23 shots he faced.

Sean Couturier (27) and Scott Laughton also scored for the Flyers.

The Flyers have allowed 17 goals over their last four games, the most they’ve allowed in regulation during a four-game stretch this season.

•Patrick was all over the ice in the offensive zone and he was finally rewarded as he scored one of the biggest goals of the season, tying the game with 2.9 seconds remaining, earning the Flyers a point and sending the game into overtime. You could see Patrick intently searching for the loose puck in what was a mad scramble in the final moments of regulation.

•Despite the Flyers dominating the action in the opening 10 minutes, the Senators grabbed the early 1-0 lead as they had a clean breakout from their own zone which led to a 3-on-2 which eventually became a 4-on-3 with Duchene as the trailer. Duchene wheeled around Scott Laughton and simply flipped a beautiful wrist shot over Lyon’s glove-side shoulder. The play all started with Laughton getting caught too low in the Senators' zone as the Flyers didn’t have the numbers to slow down their speed. I thought Lyon gave up the near post a little too quickly as well.  

•Less than a minute later the Senators doubled their lead to 2-0 and this goal I pin on Lyon, who made the initial save from the point and as he went to save the shot from Brassard, his momentum carried him onto his stomach and from that moment he was in scramble mode. He lost track of where the puck was on the ice and failed to protect the near-side post as Brassard continued to jam away until the puck eventually crossed the line. 

•The Flyers' top line was relentless in their first two shifts of the second period and their effort resulted in the Flyers first goal of the game. Defenseman Brandon Manning started the sequence as he fed a streaking Claude Giroux up the middle of the ice which led to a sequence that saw Konecny fire a snap shot on net and Senators goalie Craig Anderson was in pure scramble mode. Like Lyon previously, Anderson fell to his stomach and by the time Gudas backhanded a pass to Couturier Anderson was in no position to make a save.   

•The Senators grabbed a 3-1 lead on a play that all started on their blue line. Giroux was skating with the puck along the blue line and as he attempted to reverse course he lost an edge which led to a 2-on-1 for the Senators with Robert Hägg as the only man back on defense. Hägg has to ensure that pass isn’t there and leave Dzingel to shoot on Lyon who should be squared up and ready for the save, instead Hägg broke early which left an easy tap in goal for Ottawa’s Chris Didomenico.  

•As much as I like Jake Voracek and his relentlessness with the puck, he simply tries to overdo it by forcing plays and skating into traffic which is why he leads all Flyers forwards in giveaways. Voracek had a couple of instances where he was guilty of this and one came on the power play which burned about 15 seconds of powerplay time. 

•The Flyers caught a tremendous break as Ottawa’s potential 4-1 goal was overturned as Duchene was ruled offsides and thus his goal was disallowed. However, it should be concerning that the Flyers had a pair of defenders around Duchene, who simply outworked Laughton and Andrew MacDonald as MacDonald was completely turnaround. Duchene also beat Lyon in almost the same area as his first goal. If you’re Lyon you have to be mindful of this pattern or teams will start exploiting certain weak spots.

•The Flyers came at the Senators hard and heavy in the third period with multiple scoring chances from up close from the Couturier and Patrick lines, but Craig Anderson had an answer every time. Overall, the Flyers outplayed the Senators in this game, but their handful of breakdowns are proving to be too costly. 

•Sure enough, the Flyers' persistence paid off as Laughton scored, deflecting Brandon Manning’s point shot and cutting the Senators' lead to 3-2. 

•Some good early work by the fourth line as they outworked the Senators' fourth line, which culminated with a couple of Jori Lehtera shots on goal. To say Lehtera is due would be an overstatement. For a player that was on the Blues' top line at times last season, Lehtera has failed to score in 34 games played for the Flyers this season.

•Valtteri Filppula had a terrible penalty just seconds after the Flyers killed off the Senators' first power play opportunity. Filppula pursued Erik Karlsson and for whatever reason raised his stick, catching Karlsson. A terrible momentum crusher after the Flyers had just killed Manning’s tripping call, which was a weak call in itself.
 
•Shayne Gostisbehere laid a big hit on Senators fourth line center Nate Thompson, which led to Thompson’s retaliation. Out of the melee, Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki and Wayne Simmonds earned matching roughing minors, but overall, it was promising to see Ghost display a rare physical side to his game.

•Ghost again stepped up and delivered another shoulder-to-shoulder shot, this time to Sens penalty killer Zack Smith, as Smith attempted to handle the puck between the two benches.  

•Patrick came so close to scoring for the second time in three games as he had a potential give-and-go with Voracek just slide off his stick. If the Flyers score first, the complexion of that first period changes. 

Notes
•Prior to the game, the Flyers ran a video montage of their best clips spliced in with clips from the Eagles' season with the phrase “One More Game” on the Wells Fargo Center ice.

•Dave Leonardi, aka “Sign Man”, was inducted into the newly-created Flyers season ticket Hall of Fame, and as a reward for his commitment and dedication, Leonardi dropped the ceremonial first puck at center ice. Saturday’s game also marked season-ticket appreciation night. Afterwards, the players removed their sweaters and gave them to a select number of season-ticket holders.  

Senators pull off improbable comeback

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Senators pull off improbable comeback

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Matt Duchene scored his second goal of the game seven seconds into overtime and the Ottawa Senators capped a four-goal comeback with a 6-5 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.

Down 5-2 to start the third period, the Senators got goals from Derick Brassard, Duchene and Mike Hoffman. Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson made 30 saves.

Hoffman and Duchene raced for a 2-on-1 off the OT faceoff, and Hoffman slipped a backhand pass across the slot to Duchene, who pushed the puck past goalie Aaron Dell.

Tomas Hertl led the Sharks with two goals. Melker Karlsson, Chris Tierney and Brett Burns also scored. Dell stopped 37 shots (see full recap).

Penguins shut out Islanders
NEW YORK -- Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists, Tristan Jarry stopped 31 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 4-0 Friday night.

Daniel Sprong had two goals and an assist, Evgeni Malkin also scored and Dominik Simon added two assists for the Penguins, who had dropped four of six and were coming off a 4-0 loss at home to Carolina the previous night. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions pulled within one point of the Hurricanes for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Jaroslav Halak finished with 31 saves as the Islanders lost their season-high fifth straight -- all in regulation -- while getting outscored 25-8 during the skid.

The Islanders lost right wing Josh Bailey to a lower-body injury early in the first period and he did not return. Bailey leads the team with 38 assists and is tied with captain John Tavares for tops with 50 points (see full recap).

Golden Knights keep rolling
CHICAGO -- Reilly Smith had a goal and two assists, and the Vegas Golden Knights topped the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Friday night for their ninth win in 10 games.

Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson each had a goal and an assist as expansion Vegas got the win in its first trip to Chicago. Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin also scored, and Malcolm Subban made 28 saves.

The game was tied at 4 when Smith stole a pass and beat Jeff Glass on a breakaway for his 11th of the season 13:53 into the third. The Blackhawks pulled Glass in favor of an extra attacker with about two minutes left, but the Golden Knights held on.

Vinnie Hinostroza had a goal and two assists for Chicago, which was coming off a 2-3-1 trip. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, and Glass finished with 38 stops (see full recap).