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Senators beat Flyers 5-4 in wild game

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It was close, but the Sens never trailed and held on for the win

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Some games have obvious narratives. This one did not. The Senators took an early lead they would never relinquish, but more than once they let the Flyers back into it. When Radko Gudas got ejected for boarding Chris Wideman late in the game, Philly looked like they were just gonna goon it up for the rest of the game. Then they scored two late goals, and suddenly the Sens needed Craig Anderson to hold on for dear life to give the team a win.

It didn’t take long for the Senators to get going in the early stages. They got a powerplay a minute into the game, and converted not long into it. Dion Phaneuf unleashed a screened wrister from the point, but most importantly, Chris DiDomenico won the faceoff to Filip Chlapik who passed it to Phaneuf, giving both guys their first NHL points. There was a little debate about what happens when two players earn the first NHL assists on the same goal.

The Sens would double the lead off the unlikely stick of Mark Borowiecki. It was actually a pretty little play, in which Jean-Gabriel Pageau came out with the puck, Mike Hoffman got the pass, and rather than just shoot, he spotted Boro creeping in from the point. Boro’s shot just barely snuck over Michal Neuvrith’s glove.

That wouldn’t even do it for the period, when on a Flyers’ powerplay, Erik Karlsson intercepted a pass, entered the zone, hit Pageau with a pass, and Pageau floated it over Neuvirth’s glove. After three relatively weak goals high glove, I thought Neuvirth might be done for the night, but I was wrong. Karlsson also broke his season-high one game point drought on that play.

Things started to unravel late in the second. First, Jakub Voracek got his team on the board with his first goal of the year. Not long after, former Ottawa 67 Travis Konecny got his second of the year. Suddenly, Ottawa’s lead looked tenuous. But just like he did against the Maple Leafs on Saturday, Mark Stone got things back under control. Only this time, he did it with possibly the nicest backwards backhand I have ever seen:

My favourite part is how Stone immediately points to Ryan Dzingel like somehow Dzingel was the main reason for that goal.

The third period opened with my fav Tom Pyatt scoring another goal, from Nate Thompson and Pageau. I know I wasn’t a fan of the Thompson signing to start the year, but he’s been much better than expected. He can kill penalties, and he’s been a decent complement on Pageau’s wing. Nice to see him put up a pretty little three-game point streak.

Not long after, notable neanderthal Radko Gudas would take a long run at Chris Wideman, sending the latter out of the game with injury and the former with a five-minute major plus a game misconduct. The good news is that although shaken up, Wideman didn’t suffer any long-term injuries:

Voracek would lose his temper on the ensuing 4-on-4 (Boro got 2 for roughing standing up for Wideman), giving Ottawa a rare 4-on-3 powerplay. Then Karlsson would take a penalty, setting up an even rarer regulation 3-on-3 situation. At this point I was writing my “Sens overcome Flyers’ goons for blowout victory” headlines when Ivan Provorov fired home one from the point. Then Sean “not Zibanejad” Couturier fired home another goal, and suddenly it was tense for the dying moments. The Flyers pulled their goalie, the Sens iced it a couple times, and one Andy save at the post even had to go for review, but ultimately the Sens prevailed in a nail-biter, 5-4.

Notable Performances:

  • Pageau had three points, and he looks very comfortable with Pyatt and Thompson. It was nice to see him with a little offensive flair
  • The Sens’ PK now has scored as many goals (2) as it’s allowed
  • Let’s be honest - the Sens don’t win this game without Neuvirth messing up a couple times. It was a rough game for the Flyers’ presumed backup
  • The Sens also don’t win without Anderson’s heroics. He faced 40 shots, and made several ridiculous saves to keep the Sens in it
  • The Sens have now run up multi-goal leads in a few games this season only to watch them nearly disappear. It’s more than a little stressful.
  • Chlapik only played 6:49, but that’s more than I expected. He probably would have got a minute on that first powerplay if the Sens hadn’t scored so quickly into his shift

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