Today was a special day for Claude Giroux and Philadelphia Flyers fans. The Ottawa Senators were in Philadelphia today for Giroux’s first game back since leaving the team, and he received a big ovation after an emotional tribute video:
It was all business for Giroux and the Senators though, as it was another “must-win” game today—something that has been said for the past few games as well. Ottawa had lost seven in a row coming into this afternoon's matchup and they desperately needed to stop the bleeding.
Things didn’t get off to a great start though, as Kevin Hayes got on the board first. The Flyers came in on a 3-on-2 and Travis Konecny was given a clear lane to drive the net. His low shot didn’t go in, but Cam Talbot lost the puck, and Travis Hamonic wasn’t able to block the rebound as Hayes shoved it between his legs and into the net. Considering Ottawa’s record when scoring first was 2-6 when scoring first and 2-2-1 when allowing the first, it wasn’t the worst sign.
Later in the period, Travis Konecny was frustrated with a Jacob Bernard-Docker bodycheck and the two of them dropped the gloves for Bernard-Docker’s first NHL fight. Even though he didn’t win it, it was good to see a rookie bring some life to the game. Not to be outdone, Mark Kastelic would then go up against Tony DeAngelo for a supposed late hit by Kastelic. Considering the opponent, I think people would be interested in seeing the result:
Kastelic and DeAngelo drop the gloves for the 2nd tilt of the game 👀 pic.twitter.com/GTUpOZySW3— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 12, 2022
Not long after, Thomas Chabot would get sprung onto a breakaway from a nifty pass from Giroux. Chabot had been struggling mightily recently, but he was able to bury his chance and score his third of the season to tie the game 1-1, which is what the first period ended at.
The second period was less eventful, although Ottawa had to kill back-to-back penalties in the first 11 minutes. They did a good job to limit the chances, although it was still nervewracking to see the Flyers potentially take the lead. Their best chance was a breakaway from Owen Tippett which almost led to a penalty shot. Tippett somehow split Chabot and Bernard-Docker after the Senators had possesion for a long time, and Bernard-Docker was able to somewhat catch up to him. It was surprisingly not a penalty shot, which worked out in Ottawa’s favour.
Then late in the period, momentum began to shift in the Senators’ favour. Nic Deslauriers took an interference penalty, and Alex DeBrincat was finally able to convert on the powerplay. It was a textbook passing play from Tim Stützle and Brady Tkachuk, which left DeBrincat wide open at the side of the net. It seemed like an automatic goal when he got the puck, but considering his bad luck so far, I almost expected him to miss. It was DeBrincat’s third goal of the season, and second non-empty-netter. Joel Farabee would take another penalty before the period ended, giving Ottawa a 2-1 lead and a powerplay heading into the third period.
Pretty passing en route to Alex DeBrincat's go-ahead goal 😼 pic.twitter.com/4s0t67uzF0— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 12, 2022
Ottawa wasn’t able to capitalize in the first couple minutes of the third period, and Chabot would end up going to the dressing room after a very hard and questionable hit from Konecny. Austin Watson would then draw a slashing penalty from Scott Laughton, which proved to be crucial. It wasn’t pretty, but DeBrincat would score again for his first multi-goal game with the Senators. Giroux’s shot missed the net, and DeBrincat was right there on the other side of the net, and it barely went past Carter Hart:
The rest of the game was quite solid for the Senators as they didn’t give the Flyers much room to come back. Hart was pulled with over four minutes to play, and Stützle was able to get an empty-netter to seal the deal by making it 4-1. After seven straight infuriating losses, the Senators have finally won a game and now sit at 5-8-1 on the season. Not a bad return for Giroux to Philadelphia!
- Cam Talbot needed to be better tonight and he was. He came into tonight with an .897 SV% and now he sits at a remarkable .925% after four games and a very small sample.
- Chabot obviously left the game in the third period but he looked a lot more confident this afternoon. He scored a goal and was also much better overall. He’s had a tough season so far, and Ottawa needs him to play like that more. Hopefully his injury is not serious, as that would be a massive blow to the team.
- If Chabot is out for a while, Jake Sanderson will continue to get more ice-time. He played 22:21 tonight, which was only behind Stützle.
- DeBrincat’s two goals are so big for the team. The powerplay should be better and DeBrincat needed to bury way more of his chances, and both of those things happened. This should be the beginning of a good scoring streak for him.
- As mentioned, the powerplay went 2-3 tonight, a sign of good things to come.
- Giroux had a big night against his former team with two assists and he quietly has 14 points in 14 games.
- The Senators weren’t the better team tonight, but good teams find a way to win no matter what. After all the games they deserved to win, they were due for a win like this—and their first win on the road./