There weren’t too many questions about the Philadelphia Flyers’ goal scoring tonight, as they dominated the Ottawa Senators 5-0 for a big road win. Jakub Voracek had a pair of goals, while the tandem of Vincent Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn produced a goal and an assist each. Claude Giroux registered a pair of assists, while Steve Mason recorded his first shutout as a Flyer with 24 saves on the night.
The Orange and Black looked great in every aspect of the game tonight, as they cycled thoroughly, controlled play in the neutral zone, and played responsible defense. This was a statement win for the Flyers, as they blanked a team that is top-ten in scoring and they dictated play throughout the tilt.
“We got back to the basics,” said Matt Read following the win. “The first month we tried to do things when we didn’t have them and now we’re just keeping things simple by getting pucks deep and getting pucks out when we have to and winning puck battles along the boards. Those little things turn into victories.”
All season long, each game the Flyers went into there were exceptions or reasons as to why they should have won or why it was horrible that they lost. Tonight, with a team that saw their starting goaltender return to action, and have possibly the save of the season, the Orange and Black played a flawless game.
The team looked confident tonight, more confident than they have looked all season, especially the captain and his line. Scott Hartnell, Voracek, and Giroux had an impressive night with several scoring chances and a total of five points. A struggling power play converted on two of their three chances, as the team moved the puck better in tonight’s tilt than they have all season on the power play.
In addition to their offensive explosion, Mason remained to be the reliable goaltender that many people correctly believe he is becoming. He didn’t have a highlight save, but he kept everything Ottawa threw at him out of the cage and didn’t allow the Senators to get back into it late. He’s come close to a few shutouts this season, but it’s nice to see the best Flyer this season finally get statistically rewarded for his play.
As for the action, Philly grabbed the lead in the first period. Both teams may have had 10 shots on net in the first period, but the Flyers definitely had the upper hand in dictating play. With strong cycling and a lot of puck possession, most of the opening frame was spent in Ottawa’s zone, as the Orange and Black just missed the net on many opportunities. The visitors did however leave the first stanza with a one-goal lead thanks to the hustle of Read.
The line of Read, Steve Downie, and Sean Couturier were cycling in the Sens’ zone before Downie walked out of the corner to Craig Anderson’s right and ripped a shot that ultimately went over the Senators’ goalie and hit the pane of glass behind the net. An awkward bounce off the glass resulted in the disc hitting the back of the net and sitting behind the cage, where Read grabbed control of the puck and wrapped it into the open net before Anderson was able to get back to the post in time. Read’s fourth of the season put Philly up 1-0 with 3:36 remaining in the period.
The second period is where Voracek potted his two goals, as he scored just 28 seconds into the frame and near the halfway point of the frame.
Voracek’s first goal came on a feed from Hartnell, who was in the corner to Anderson’s right. Hartnell found Voracek behind the net and behind the far post, which resulted in Voracek beating Anderson in a race to the post, as the forward deposited his second goal of the season.
The second goal from Voracek on the evening was the result of a great passing play from the visitors on the man advantage. Giroux was along the near boards close to the benches when he hit Wayne Simmonds with a pass, as the former Los Angeles King was standing right in front of Anderson. Simmonds backhanded a pass to the oncoming Voracek, who rushed into the slot and beat a goaltender that reacted as though Simmonds was about to shoot. The power-play tally put Philly up by three with 9:27 left in the middle period.
Similar to how the second period belonged to Voracek, the final period belonged to Lecavalier. After he intercepted a pass in Ottawa’s slot and slapped one through Anderson’s five-hole to make it 4-0, Lecavalier released another slap shot later in the period on the power play that the younger Schenn deflected to make it 5-0.
The Flyers hope the momentum from this monstrous win will carry into tomorrow, as they visit Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins.
Notes: Giroux recorded his 300th NHL point with the secondary assist on Voracek’s first goal tonight…Tonight ended Mason’s streak of 39 straight decisions without a shutout. His last shutout came on March 1st, 2012, as he stopped 33 shots in a win for the Columbus Blue Jackets…The Flyers improved to 5-2-0 when they lead after the first period and when they lead after the second period…Philly improved to 6-3-1 when scoring first…Hartnell snapped a 38-game drought without an assist…Michael Raffl, Andrej Meszaros, and Hal Gill were scratched tonight for Philly. Chris Phillips, Eric Gryba, and Erik Condra were scratched for Ottawa…The Flyers improved to 2-3-0 against the Atlantic Division and to 5-7-1 against the Eastern Conference…Philly improved to 6-10-1 on the season. They were 7-9-1 after 17 games last year.