WRAPUP: FLYERS POWER PAST SENATORS, 7-4
It was far from neat-and-tidy but the Philadelphia Flyers accomplished their primary objective on the heels of a disastrous home opener on Tuesday: they battled through adversity, got better as the game went along and left with a 7-4 road victory
over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
The Flyers lost second-line center Nolan Patrick in the first period to an upper-body injury. They trailed 1-0 in the first period and briefly 2-1 in the middle frame before forging ahead. Philly overcame some continued sloppy defensive play along the way.
Much of the game was spent on special teams. The Flyers were 2-for-7 on the man advantage but just 4-for-7 on the penalty kill. One of the Ottawa power play goals was caused by a failed clear by the Flyers and deflections (both potentially kicking motions) off two Senators' skates. The latter two were caused by passive PK boxes that allowed way too much real estate and time.
Now for the good news: The top line trio of Claude Giroux (power play goal, two assists), Jakub Voracek (power play and 2-on-1 even strength goals, three assists) and Sean Couturier (went to the net and was rewarded for a second time early this season) stepped up big in a much-needed situation. Scott Laughton was also a tower of strength even apart from scoring a nifty backhanded goal and adding an empty netter. Robert Hägg rounded out the scoring for the Flyers, scoring his second goal of the young season. Shayne Gostisbehere bagged a pair of power play helpers.
Oskar Lindblom and Michael Raffl quietly played strong games in supporting roles. Dale Weise, dressing for the first time this season, had a workmanline effort and two assists for his first multi-point game since April 9, 2017.
Making his first start as a Flyer, Cal Pickard put forth a workmanlike effort under duress (especially in the first period). Pickard earned the win with 31 saves on 35 shots. Only one of the goals came on a chance that appeared stoppable; a Brady Tkachuk wrister from the top of the right circle using Travis Sanheim as a partial screen.
Ottawa goaltending counterpart Craig Anderson had an up-and-down effort in taking the loss. He stopped 38 of 44 shots. Tkachuk scored power play and even-strength goals, while Max Lajoie had two power play goals and a power play assist. Chris Tierney had a pair of helpers, including one that he kicked toward the net and probably would have been a disallowed goal had it not gone off Tkachuk's foot first.
Voracek's five points set a new single-game career high. So, too, did a three-assist night for Radko Gudas.
The Flyers return to action on Saturday afternoon, hosting the Vegas Golden Knights.