Flyers Collapse, Fall To Senators 4-1
On a night where Philadelphia was looking to capture its first win in Ottawa since 2007, rookie Erik Condra scored two goals and Craig Anderson made 30 saves to thwart the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers on Saturday.
With just 20 seconds left in the first period, Scott Hartnell golfed a wacky slapshot far-side on Anderson courtesy of a nice setup by Claude Giroux to start the night’s scoring. By the end of one period, the Flyers had outshot the Senators by a wide margin of 15-3.
Coming into tonight’s matchup, Philadelphia had only lost in regulation once this season when leading after twenty minutes.
However, thanks to four unanswered Senators goals, the Flyers have now lost three of their last five games and given up three or more goals in each of those five games.
After the Flyers failed to convert on four consecutive powerplays, Nick Foligno tied the game with his 10th goal of the season on the Senators’ first man-advantage of the night.
Less than four minutes later, Condra -- playing in just his sixth NHL game -- hustled to the front of the net and beat Boucher along the ice for his first career goal.
Ryan Shannon positioned himself neatly beneath the goal line and wristed a perfect pass to Condra after the rookie had escaped Ville Leino’s lackadaisical coverage to reach the low slot.
Despite the Flyers’ less-than-valiant efforts, Ottawa took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room after two periods of play.
Since Philadelphia had blown third period leads in both of their last two games, tonight’s final stanza presented them with an opportunity to redeem themselves and mount a late-game comeback against the lowly Senators.
Unfortunately for Flyers fans, tonight was not that turning point.
Chris Phillips scored his first goal of the season and first tally in nearly an entire calendar year to stretch Ottawa’s lead to two goals with half a period to play.
With time dwindling down, Jeff Carter fired a sneaky wrist shot from the sideboards that found its way through Anderson, but was kept out of the net by an attentive Bobby Butler.
Just seconds later, Giroux was shoved headfirst into the boards, causing a scrum that ended in another Senators powerplay, ultimately nullifying any chance of a Philadelphia comeback.
Condra potted his second of the night to help Ottawa down the Flyers by a final score of 4-1.
Other storylines of tonight’s game included the highly-anticpated return of Nikolay Zherdev, who had been a healthy scratch the past seven games and put on waivers by the team several days ago.
Zherdev, who vowed to coach Peter Laviolette and GM Paul Holmgren to play more determined hockey, stood out all game with a spirited effort. Although he was stopped on two breakaways, Zherdev’s play was definitely an improvement and enough to leave Flyers fans hoping that his time in Philadelphia may not be over just yet.
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms to replace the injured Chris Pronger, played a solid game in his first NHL appearance. He was responsible in his own end and even stepped up in the play in the offensive zone several times throughout the game.
The Flyers effort tonight left a lot to be desired by fans, and there’s no question that the team needs to start playing with more desperation if they want to regain the form that earned them the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia will look to rebound from tonight’s loss next Thursday when they face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
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