Spezza, Alfredsson Lead Sens To Shootout Win In Philly

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Despite a three-goal deficit after the first 20 minutes, the Flyers were still able to earn a point in their 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.

After Philly scored three goals in the second period to tie the game, the Sens won the shootout thanks to goals from Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza.

Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Neil tallied for the Senators, who moved four points ahead of eighth-place Washington. Craig Anderson turned in a superb performance, making 36 saves and rescuing his club from the prospect of taking only one point away.

“Our team does a good job of being resilient and showing a little character and coming back,” Senators head coach Paul MacLean said.

Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier and Braydon Coburn lit the lamp for the Flyers, while Sergei Bobrovsky shook off a dismal first period and stopped 26 shots in the loss.

Philly inched up to three points behind the Penguins for fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, with a crucial battle tomorrow afternoon scheduled for CONSOL Energy Center.

Of the six shots that found the back of the net, Simmonds had the most memorable tally, but not for the right reasons.

With the first Philly score to cut into the Flyers’ deficit, Simmonds didn’t use his stick put the biscuit past Anderson. A Brayden Schenn shot from the slot redirected off of Simmonds’ face and in at the 2:59 mark of the middle stanza.

Despite the need for a visor after the incident, Simmonds returned to the Flyers’ bench later in the period to help the team tie the game at three.

“We battled back and I thought that was important,” Simmonds said of his team’s effort to work their way back to earn a point in today’s game. “I’ve said it time and time again, we’re a resilient bunch and it was good to get that point rather than get none.”

The chip fracture in Ilya Bryzgalov’s foot is just another in a string of issues which have affected the lineup, and this one will keep him out of action for tomorrow’s game against the Penguins. In his place, Bobrovsky did a decent job.

Although two of the three goals he allowed were mainly due to bad turnovers in the defensive zone, Bob should shoulder blame since one of the turnovers was his fault and he had a decent chance to save all three of Ottawa’s goals.

To start the Sens’ scoring at the 6:04 mark of the first, Spezza beat Bobrovsky to the near post for his 32nd goal of the season. After his initial shot from the corner was picked up by Alfredsson following a Bobrovsky save, Alfredsson faked a wraparound and instead shipped a reverse pass to his long-time line-mate for a shot which caught the Philly netminder on the upper portion of his body.

Just over five minutes later, it was 2-0 for the Sens. Philly’s rookie forward Eric Wellwood tried to bounce a clear off the glass and out of the defensive zone, but Sens’ d-man Erik Karlsson intercepted it at the blue line. After he caught the clear attempt, Karlsson moved the puck to Alfredsson at the top of the circles, and his blast seemed to deflect off a body in front, change direction and slide home inside the right post.

Not even three minutes later, the lead was tripled. In an attempt to clear the zone after a shot, Bobrovsky settled the puck down just outside the crease and launched it towards the neutral zone. Unfortunately, Rob Klinkhammer caught it at the blue line and took a shot, which went just wide of the cage. Neil controlled the puck after Klinkhammer’s wide shot wrapped around the boards and put a lazy wrister on net from the middle of the left circle that squeaked through Bobrovsky’s arm and hip.

“It’s good for everybody, Bob, the team.  Guys fought back and I thought we played hard in the first period,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “We got caught, scoring chances went in early for them.  To battle back I think in the second period, tie things up, showed a resilient group.”

Simmonds’ painful goal cut the deficit to two before Couturier deposited his 13th of the season later in the period — a goal which was a long time in coming thanks to some controversy.

Carrying the puck into Ottawa’s zone, Couturier faked a slap shot at the blue line to beat Karlsson to the outside for an easier rush to the crease. The Flyers’ rookie was moving the disc from his forward to his backhand when Anderson’s leg seperated Couturier from the puck. Fortunately for the Flyers, the rolling puck continued towards the cage with Anderson out of position and slipped over the goal line as Filip Kuba moved the net off its pegs.

Though the initial call was “no goal,” a thorough review at the NHL’s war room in Toronto eventually rewarded the home fans’ patience at 14:38.

Less than three minutes later, the Flyers made it all the way back with help from their defense corps.

Max Talbot jumped on a loose puck at the Flyers’ blue line and maneuvered his way into the offensive zone before Sens defenseman Jared Cowen poked the disc away from him. After he was the first skater to the uncontrolled puck along the boards, Wellwood threw a pass cross ice to Danny Briere, who caught it on his backhand in the middle of the circle. As he switched possession from backhand to his forehand, Briere moved to the bottom of the circle and threw a pass to Coburn in front. Although the shot was aimed directly into Anderson’s glove, the puck eluded the sprawled goalie’s grasp and trickled over the line with 2:44 left in the second.

After an even third period and a Flyer-dominated overtime, where Philly out shot Ottawa 6-2 and concluded the extra frame with a 49-second power play, the contest extended to a shootout, where the Orange and Black shot first.

Matt Read was first in the shootout and beat Anderson low glove-side before Michalek’s five-hole attempt worked on Bobrovsky to even the score at one after the first round.

Claude Giroux was next for Philly and failed to convert, as he skated in on Anderson backwards before his shot was lifted high and off the top of the end boards.

Spezza notched the extra point for the Sens, as he beat Bob on his chance and Briere failed to keep the shootout going.

Notes: This was the Flyers’ first loss to a Northeast Division opponent at home since their 6-5 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins on January 22…Today’s shootout loss was Bobrovsky’s second of the season. His first was on November 3, when the Devils beat the Flyers 4-3 at the Wells Fargo Center…Briere notched a pair of assists and upped his total to nine points (2G, 7A) in the last four games…After his failed attempt in the third round of the shootout, Briere fell to 2-for-7 in the shootout this season. Giroux dropped to 5-for-9 and Read improved to 4-for-6…Coburn snapped a 16-game goal drought…The Flyers finished 11-3-2 in the month of March…The Flyers dropped to 2-1-1 against the Senators and to 13-3-3 plus against the Northeast Division (BOS 1-1-2, OTT 2-1-1, BUF 3-0-0, TOR 4-0-0, MTL 3-1-0)…The Flyers dropped to 45-24-9. They were 46-22-10 after 78 games last season.