After a dramatic overtime victory in Philly yesterday, the Flyers failed to sweep their home-and-home with the Ottawa Senators as they dropped a 6-4 decision on the road Sunday evening. Filip Kuba scored on a slapshot from the point with 71 seconds left in the game for the winner as Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil, Erik Karlsson, and Nick Foligno each recorded a goal and assist in the Senators’ win.
Matt Read was the only Flyer with a multi-point game as he scored in the second period and assisted on Sean Couturier’s goal in the first period. Read tied Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the NHL lead in rookie goal scoring.
Ilya Bryzgalov, who acquitted himself well in the opener, allowed five goals on 37 shots in the loss to drop his fifth decision in his last seven games.
As time was slowly ticking away in the third period, Kuba put home his fourth goal of the season through traffic as the game looked to be heading to overtime. After Erik Condra wrapped a pass around the boards to him, Kuba calmed the puck down and ripped a shot from the left point to beat Bryzgalov with only 1:11 left in the game.
Bryzgalov was pulled shortly thereafter but Foligno hit the empty net on the backhand to seal the game with 45 seconds to go.
To start the game, two of the teams’ scrappy players turned to fisticuffs in hopes for early momentum. First and second in the league in PIMs respectively, it took Zenon Konopka and Zac Rinaldo 16 seconds to drop the gloves. Featuring more hugging than punching, the fight finished as Rinaldo fell to the ice after missing with a big punch.
On the next shift after the scrum, Alfredsson potted the game’s first goal.
After Kyle Turris worked his way through the Flyers’ defense and to the bottom of the circles, he dropped a pass back to Alfredsson in the slot for his trademark wrister only 54 seconds into the game.
Although they had given up the early lead, and had allowed the Sens to create several close scoring chances in the first few minutes of play, the Flyers responded quickly with a strike from their defense.
Appearing in his 500th NHL game, Andrej Meszaros celebrated with a slapshot from the right point that beat Craig Anderson to tie the game at the 2;31 mark. The tally was Meszaros’ sixth of the season.
After Meszaros’ blast, the Flyers started to create some offensive pressure of their own.
In the midst of their pressure, the Flyers best chance came from an odd-man rush featuring Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot. Carrying the puck through the neutral zone, Simmonds slid the puck across the slot to Talbot, who was denied on the doorstep by Anderson.
Minutes later, the Sens grabbed the 2-1 lead after the line of Zack Smith, Neil and Foligno worked hard around the Flyers’ net to provide a shot that barely crossed the goal line at 8:25.
Neil knocked home his sixth of the season after finding a loose puck in the crease, but it was far from obvious to those on the ice. After a lengthy review, video evidence showed that the puck momentarily crossed the goal line before Bryzgalov quickly hit the puck back into the crease with his arms.
The goal gave the Sens their second lead in the first 10 minutes of the game but it proved fleeting.
Skating towards the neutral zone, Marc-Andre Bourdon controlled the puck at the right point before turning around to let go of an innocent wrister towards Anderson. With the help of a screen from Jakub Voracek, Bourdon’s floater hit the net just under the crossbar with 4:28 left in the period.
Couturier then gave the Flyers their first lead of the game 28 seconds later with his sixth goal of the season.
As Bourdon’s tally was still being announced in the arena, Couturier led a 3-on-1 rush into the Sens’ defensive zone. Briefly turning his hips to the slot as though he was loading up a pass, Couturier instead ripped a wrister low towards the far post past Anderson’s blocker.
To cap off the Sens’ self-destructing minute, Matt Carkner attempted to draw Wayne Simmonds into a fight to swing momentum back into Ottawa’s favor. Instead, Carkner was hit with an interference minor to give Philly the first power play of the game.
In the dying seconds of the Flyers’ futile power-play chance, Smith nearly tied the game on a breakaway. As Danny Briere fumbled the puck at the blue line, Smith managed to gain control of the biscuit and headed towards Bryzgalov. The feisty winger appeared to be at the end of his shift, and was only able to fire a weak shot which was easily turned aside. It was still 3-2 for Philly after one.
A Michalek chance which broke up a monotonous start to the middle period led to the Sens’ first power play of the game.
Breaking in on Bryzgalov by himself, Michalek had his second strong scoring chance of the game before the netminder poke checked the puck free to end the scoring bid. In the process of his chance, Andreas Lilja slashed Michalek to give Ottawa the man advantage.
Philly not only killed off Lilja’s minor, but nearly provided their fourth tally of the game with a Kimmo Timonen blast from the middle of the circles.
Less than two minutes after Lilja exited the sin bin, Carkner made his return back to the penalty box as he picked up an elbowing minor after the teams started to pick up the pace of the game. Just before Carkner was set to exit the box, and shortly after Voracek broke a pane of glass with a shot that went high and wide, Condra took down Briere in the neutral zone with a trip.
After a 14-second two-man advantage, the Flyers returned to working their one-man edge before Read put home his 13th of the season with 5:52 left in the second period. A JVR blast from the right circle forced Anderson to slide across the crease to make a quick left-pad stop, but Read banged home the rebound out in front for the easy goal.
To start the third period, the Sens came out and dictated play, but Philly nearly pushed their lead to three goals thanks to an obscure bounce.
As Lilja blasted the puck into the offensive zone from the neutral zone, he hit Sens defender Chris Phillips resulting in the puck’s redirection towards Anderson. With the puck on a path towards the back of his net, Anderson was forced to make a quick glove-save to keep the home squad’s deficit to two goals.
After the Sens kept an unlucky bounce from advancing their deficit, they went down the ice and received a lucky bounce of their own to cut the Flyers’ lead to one goal. Colin Greening carried down the left-wing side, and, though looking for Jason Spezza in the slot, his pass instead found the stick of Matt Carle, who accidentally knocked the puck into his own net.
After Greening’s ninth of the season 3:11 into the period, Read nearly netted his second of the game as he blew past the Sens’ defense before being denied by Anderson.
Flying along the boards featuring the penalty boxes, Read managed to move in on Anderson by himself. Moving from Anderson’s right to left, Read showed great patience with the puck forcing the goalie to drop to the ice. Finally releasing a shot at the bottom of the faceoff circle closest to the players’ benches, Read couldn’t beat the sprawling Anderson.
Anderson’s save proved to be critical.
Moments after Anderson’s save, Karlsson led a two-on-one with Spezza. Looking towards Spezza the entire rush, Karlsson glanced briefly towards Bryzgalov before letting go of a wrister that beat the goalie five-hole for his sixth goal of the season to forge a 4-4 deadlock at 6:19.
The Flyers killed off a holding penalty to Lilja with 4:54 left in regulation, but the effort didn’t pan out as the Senators cashed in on Kuba’s tally.
For the third time in their last four games, the Flyers managed to mess up a lead going into the third period. Today, it was an unfortunate bounce off Carle’s stick and a soft goal on Karlsson’s shot before Kuba found a way to score through traffic. Philly came out playing flat in the first couple of minutes needing tallies from Greening and Karlsson to wake up and respond. The Flyers will continue to struggle if they can’t figure out how to hold on to a lead late in games.
The Orange and Black look to bounce back Tuesday, as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes for their second game in their current four-game road trip.
Notes: Ottawa has won 11 of its last 13 home games against Philly…This is the Flyers first loss against the Senators since their 5-2 decision in Ottawa on April 5, 2011…In his 500th NHL game, Meszaros had a goal and two shots in a plus-1 effort. He is on a three-game point streak…Philly has allowed a goal in the first minute of the game five times this season. They’ve allowed the first goal twice in the last three games…This is the second time in the last three games the Flyers have blown a two-goal lead heading into the third period (entered third period against the Blackhawks 4-2 on Thursday). Philly hasn’t out scored the opposition in the third period since their 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on December 21st (1-0 in the third period)…Couturier’s goal in the first period ended a 21-game goalless span…Briere had an assist today for a four-point weekend against the Senators…This was the first time Giroux has been held pointless in consecutive games since he went pointless against the Lightning on 11/9 and the Panthers on 11/13. It’s the first time all season Giroux finished a game minus-3…Carle posted a minus-4 game for the first time since he was a San Jose Shark and went minus-4 against the Coyotes on December 30, 2006…Karlsson, on the other hand, ended with a plus-5…The Flyers dropped to 14-6-2 on the road this season…The Flyers dropped to 2-1-0 against the Senators and to 8-3-0 against the Northeast Division on the season…Philly dropped to 24-12-4 on the season. They were 25-10-5 after 40 games last season.