It was a better effort, but the same old ending as the Senators continued their inconsistent play, and it resulted in yet another loss to a team that they should be more than capable of beatings. The Flyers handed the Senators the loss for the second time in a week, this time by a score of 5-2.
The first period was a microcosm of the Senator’s season. They actually got off to a solid start, aided by 3 early power plays where they gained momentum but couldn’t beat Steve Mason or the goalpost. Cory Conacher, Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan all had great chances when Ottawa was on the man advantage, but each was foiled and the power play as a whole didn’t look overly impressive or organized. Then with Kyle Turris taking a holding penalty almost 200 feet from his own net, the Flyers didn’t take much time at all to capitalize. Throwing the puck around like it was on a string, it eventually made its way to Claude Giroux with Lehner out of position and he made no mistake and buried the ice-breaker late in the first.
Sean Couturier scored an early second period goal, from a terrible angle below the goal line, banking it in off the side of Lehner’s pad to double the Flyers lead. Finally Ottawa’s power play made the most of an opportunity, when Clarke MacArthur took a feed from Erik Karlsson, took a couple of steps in and sent a wrist shot far side to beat Mason and get the Senators back within one. With just over a minute left, Colin Greening took out some frustration of a scoreless season on Luke Schenn, beating him decidedly in a raucous bout. MacArthur had a great chance to tie it up in the dying seconds, but Mason sprawled across to rob the Senators forward.
Ottawa got their 5th power play of the night, and scored on their second consecutive opportunity when Marc Methot’s shot went off the back boards and was batted home by Kyle Turris, tying the game at 2. Ottawa needed a big penalty kill with Conacher off for tripping, and that is what they got, with the best chance coming shorthanded off the stick of Milan Michalek. After the kill, Bobby Ryan made a great move to draw Mason out of the net and fed a pass to Turris at the goalmouth, but Niklas Grossmann made a phenomenal save backing up his goalie. Or so they thought, as Grossmann’s skate appeared to be in the net when the puck went off him. However, the video wasn’t clear enough and the apparent goal did not count. Moments after the delay, Kimmo Timonen was given a free lane from the corner and tucked it home under Lehner for the lead and a huge swing in momentum. Then the kicker came about 30 seconds after that when Wayne Simmonds fired a loose puck past a frustrated Lehner to make it a 2 goal lead with just over 8 minutes left. Erik Condra and Bobby Ryan took back to back penalties to ensure that a comeback was not in the cards, and Kyle Turris missed a penalty shot that could have brought the Senators within one. Then Adam Hall erased any doubts about it with a shorthanded empty netter to make the final score 5-2 for the Flyers.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- It is time to get Jason Spezza some help, either from outside the organization or from within in the form of someone like Bobby Ryan, Mika Zibanejad or my personal pick, Clarke MacArthur. The MacArthur-Spezza combination is one that hasn’t yet been tried, and should get a look.
- The Turris “goal” that was waved off, as frustrating as it was, was the right call. There was no view that made it clear that the puck had crossed the line, and it was also bouncing which makes the perception of depth that much tougher.
- You have to wonder when the Senators will hit rock bottom. I thought it was last week against the Flyers, and then again thought it was against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. This was a better effort, but effort isn’t measured in the standings.
The Senators have no time to rest, as they are right back at it on Wednesday night when they host the red-hot Minnesota Wild at 7:30 pm.