Flyers fall short in Ottawa, grab point in 5-4 shootout

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The Philadelphia Flyers failed to hold on to a lead in the third period, as they fell to the Ottawa Senators in a shootout by the count of 5-4 tonight. Jason Spezza was the lone skater to convert in the shootout, while he and Bobby Ryan both had two-assist games in the win. Clarke MacArthur had a two-goal game for Ottawa, as Craig Anderson stopped 25 of 29 for the decision.

For the Flyers, the trio of Michael Raffl, Kimmo Timonen, and Luke Schenn each had a goal and an assist, while Wayne Simmonds recorded a pair of helpers in the loss. Steve Mason allowed four goals against for a second straight game, as he managed to stop two of three shooters in the skills competition along with 30 of 34 in regulation and overtime.

This was a game the Flyers should have had, as they led entering the third period and scored four goals. However, a rare bad game from Mason this season and the team’s sloppy play in the defensive zone and the neutral zone allowed Ottawa to hang around and ultimately grab two points. Considering they were dominated on Saturday and now have a back-to-back against the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens next, the Flyers would have liked to have gained that second point tonight.

A positive from the loss tonight is the fact that two of the goals came from defensemen and a third came from the slumping Jakub Voracek. Tonight’s game had the equivalent feel for Voracek that the Flyers’ win against the Edmonton Oilers had for Claude Giroux. The forward seemed to be all over the place tonight and created several chances. If it wasn’t for an amazing glove save by Anderson in the third period, Voracek could have had a two-goal game with one being the game-winner.

Along with Voracek’s play, it seemed as though Simmonds, Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, the older Schenn, and Braydon Coburn all played strong in the offensive zone. The only sore spot on defense was Mark Streit, who continued his string of performances that features turnovers and creating opportunities for the opposition.

The scoring opened with Raffl’s first goal in the NHL. After he was hit and lost the puck at the point, Simmonds picked it up and drove to the net fending off a defender before he threw the disc towards Anderson’s crease. Simmonds managed to hit Jared Cowen in the skates, which allowed the rebound to go to Raffl at the bottom of the circle. The forward deposited the puck in the back of the net to make it 1-0 visitors 8:18 into the game.

Philly’s lead lasted all of 2:19, as MacArthur took advantage of a Streit turnover. After the former New York Islander pinched in the Sens’ zone, Streit lost the puck, which allowed Cowen to start a play towards the other end of the ice. MacArthur finished the play by moving in on Mason alone and whacking a bouncing puck past the netminder’s glove to even the score.

Before the first period came to a close, Sean Couturier dropped the gloves with Kyle Turris. The Flyers’ center earned the decision in a bout between the unlikely candidates.

The middle frame saw the Sens grab the lead on a power-play tally from Patrick Wiercioch. Spezza found Ryan at the side of the net to Mason’s right. Thanks to a miscommunication between Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall, Wiercioch was able to float to an open area in the opposite circle, where Ryan hit him with a pass. As the Flyers’ goaltender moved from right-to-left, Wiercioch tinkled the twine with a shot far side 9:30 into the second stanza.

The Orange and Black responded with a pair of goals in 1:50 to regain the lead, as both Voracek and the older Schenn produced tallies.

With Marc Methot in the sin bin for holding Giroux in the corner, Voracek received the puck along the side boards to Anderson off of a pass from Timonen. Voracek had his original attempt denied by Cowen, but as the puck came right back to the forward, Voracek kicked the puck to his skate and moved to his left a few feet before ripping a wrist shot through traffic that beat Anderson’s blocker to tie the game.

Shortly after Voracek’s tally, Schenn started a cycling sequence for the Orange and Black with a great outlet pass that he was ultimately rewarded for. As Simmonds and Raffl cycled deep in the Sens’ zone for awhile, Raffl eventually passed it to Schenn, who beat Anderson from the point to make it 3-2 for Philly.

In the third period, MacArthur and Turris scored exactly six minutes apart to give Ottawa the lead with 11:39 left in regulation. After Ryan threw a shot from the side boards that hit off of Mason’s right leg pad and banked into the cage off of Streit, Turris attempted to do the same thing, but was luckily able to hit the older Schenn’s skate and see the puck beat Philly’s netminder.

Timonen tied the game shortly afterwards with a shot from the point that surprised Anderson. As the puck worked its way to the point, Timonen picked it up and flicked a shot that beat Anderson high, as the netminder just threw up his hands after the blue liner’s second of the season.

Philadelphia fought off the Senators’ late surge and were able to grab a point. After both teams failed to score in overtime, it was time for the shootout.

Neither club scored in the first two rounds, as Mason stopped a five-hole attempt from MacArthur and blocked away Ryan’s attempt, while Anderson prevented both Matt Read and Giroux from scoring. In the third round, Spezza undressed Mason, while Couturier naturally clanked one of the crossbar to make the loss that much more painful.

The Orange and Black look to end their two-game skid in Chicago, as they take on the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Blackhawks Wednesday night.

Notes: After not allowing three goals or more in his first 27 games played with Philly, Mason has allowed four goals against in both of his last games. It’s the first time he’s allowed four goals against in back-to-back games since March 25th and 26th of 2012 with the Columbus Blue Jackets…Tonight was Steve Downie’s 300th NHL game. He was minus-2 with one shot on goal in 16:41 TOI…Voracek’s goal ended his 12-game goal drought, Luke Schenn ended his 23-game goal drought…Of Voracek’s four goals this season, three have come against the Senators. Timonen has scored both of his goals against Ottawa…Simmonds leads all Flyers with a two-game point streak, as he has three assists over the last pair of tilts…Couturier’s fight in the first period was his first fighting major in the NHL…Philly dropped to 11-5-1 in games where they score first and have lost the last two they’ve done so…Tonight was MacArthur’s 10th two-goal game of his career…The Flyers dropped to 5-5-1 against the Atlantic Division and to 10-9-2 against the Eastern Conference…Philly dropped to 13-14-3. They were 13-16-1 after 30 games last year.