Senators blow three goal lead, but recover to win 4-3 in shootout
As we inch closer to the playoffs, every game seems dramatically more important. For the Senators, they needed a win against the Flyers to improve their chances of just making the playoffs. For the Flyers, who are pretty much guaranteed to play Pittsburgh in the first round, they needed a win to improve their chances of getting home ice advantage. Needless to say, Ottawa had a bit more motivation heading into this one.
The Senators got on the board first, when Daniel Alfredsson told Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky that he was going to go behind the net with the puck. It was a lie. Alfredsson instead passed the puck back to Spezza who snuck it in past Bobrovsky, who was still waiting at the other post because he thought Alfredsson was an honest man. He's not.
Alfredsson wasn't content to just get assists, so a few minutes later, he received a pass from Erik Karlsson and one-timed the puck into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. Ottawa continued to pour it on in the first period, as Rob Klinkhammer stymied a Flyers clearing attempt, fed the puck into the corner, and an easy Chris Neil shot somehow went through Bobrovsky.
Unfortunately, the Sens seemed to take this lead for granted and came out complacent in the second period. The Flyers scored early in the second, when Brayden Schenn fired a shot that deflected off Wayne Simmonds' face and snuck past Craig Anderson. Late in the period, the Flyers brought it to within one when Sean Couturier froze Karlsson with a shot fake, blew past him and slipped it through Anderson. The Senators then blew a big powerplay opportunity, and the Flyers followed it up with a game tying goal from Braydon Coburn.
After two three-goal periods, the third frame was a pretty boring one, as each side contractually agreed to not create any scoring chances so that they could both guarantee themselves a point. Between the two teams, there were only 9 shots in the third period.
The overtime period, on the other hand, was a wild affair, with end to end chances and a number of stunning Craig Anderson saves before Filip Kuba took a penalty with just 50 seconds left to give the Flyers a 4-on-3 advantage. The Senators managed to stay alive through the penalty kill, and pushed the game to the shoot out. Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza both scored, while Craig Anderson stopped 2 of 3 Flyers shooters to give the Sens the extra point.
The 2 points give Ottawa 90 on the year, which puts them 4 points up on the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference playoff race. All three teams have just four games remaining on the season.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Anderson faced 39 shots, and was really the difference maker in this game. Yes, he gave up three goals in the second period, but it was his heroics in the first period and the overtime frame that are the reason Ottawa walked away with a win.Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
The ageless Captain had a sneaky assist on the first goal of the game, and scored his 27th of the year just 5 minutes later with a rocket. He finished +1, with 4 shots on goal, 2 blocked shots, and was third among Senators forwards with 20:46 time on ice.
Sens Zero: Powerplay
Ottawa's powerplay went 0 for 4, and looked simply awful through most of the game. It was never worse than when Ottawa had a chance to change the momentum of the game after the Flyers had made it 3-2, only to fail miserably on the powerplay and give up an even strength goal once Daniel Briere returned to the ice.
Sens Zero: Getting outshot
Even though Ottawa walked away with the win, they weren't necessarily the better team today. Ottawa was outshot 39-29 in the game, and have now been outshot 127 - 91 in their last three games.