Ottawa Senators grab two huge points in Philadelphia

By Matthew Kirkpatrick

Heading into their game this afternoon the Ottawa Senators were afraid they would come out flat. That didn’t happen, but the Senators nearly squandered a three goal first period only to snatch two huge points in a 4-3 shootout win.

With the win Ottawa hits the 90 point mark, and goes four points up on the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres with just four games to go.

Head coach Paul MacLean had put his team through their paces even though they had a full four days in between games. The coach knew his squad had played better when they played a lot, so he tried to simulate a game every other day to keep the Senators sharp.

Clearly MacLean knew what he was doing because Ottawa came out like gangbusters in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers, buoyed by some strong goaltending by Craig Anderson.

Anderson made 15 saves in the period, and several were key stops for his team; none bigger than the save he made on a shorthanded breakaway by Flyers star forward Claude Giroux.

The Senators used that momentum to build up a 3-0 lead on Philly on the strength of goals by Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Chris Neil.

The pendulum began to swing the Flyers way just over two minutes into the second period when Wayne Simmonds deflected a Brayden Schenn wrister past Anderson with his face.

The Flyers made it 3-2 when Sean Couturier beat Erik Karlsson wide and was able to push the puck across the line before the Ottawa net was pushed off its moorings by Filip Kuba.

The goal was originally waved off by the referee, but the powers that be in Toronto decided to overturn the call, and awarded Philadelphia the goal.

For the record, I thought they made the right call. It was a good goal.

The teams went to the locker room after two periods tied after Brayden Coburn converted a Daniel Briere feed with just over three minutes to go in the frame to make the score 3-3.

The two teams traded a few chances in the third, but with points at a huge premium this time of year, both teams seemed content to play for overtime.

Anderson had to come up big for the Senators as time wound down in the overtime session. With Kuba in the box for hooking, the Ottawa netminder stoned Giroux in tight just before the horn sounded.

Milan Michalek, and Spezza scored in the shootout for the Senators while Anderson stopped Giroux and Briere to seal the victory for the Senators.

Ottawa will now head to Long Island to take on the New York Islanders tomorrow afternoon.

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