The Philadelphia Flyers played host to the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia entered the game with their seventh opportunity to hit the .500-mark for the season. In their previous six attempts, the Flyers have failed to reach .500 on the season.
The Flyers first line of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Scott Hartnell started off with one of their worst shifts in the shortened season. Ottawa had the puck in the offensive zone for a good two shifts during the first three minutes of the game. Ilya Bryzgalov was humongous for the Flyers early on in the period.
Almost four minutes later, Harry Zolnierczyk crushed Mike Lundin, who was down for about two minutes. Zac Rinaldo stood in for his teammate and fought with Kaspars Daugavins. Rinaldo won the fight and was rewarded a five-minute penalty for fighting. Zolnierczyk was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his hit. It is likely that the hit will be reviewed by Brendan Shanahan and will likely result in a suspension of some sort.
After the skirmish, Ottawa ruined their five-minute power play by taking a too-many-men penalty just one minute into the man advantage. Giroux and Voracek took advantage of having two-minutes of four-on-four time, recording three scoring chances, but not being able to put a puck in the net.
Bryzgalov was, again, huge for the Flyers during the first period. He had to make three or four different saves to keep the game scoreless, which it was when the period ended. Ottawa led in shots on net but the Flyers surely had the momentum going into the intermission.
The Flyers came out with a lot of energy during the second period, which is something that they did not do in the first. The first-line of Voracek, Giroux, and Hartnell was putting tremendous pressure on Senators goalie, Ben Bishop. Voracek finally ended the scoreless game with a beautiful move around the Ottawa defense and putting the puck past Bishop. Ruslan Fedotenko and Luke Schenn recorded assists on the goal. Schenn has led the team in plus-minus this season and continued to make his presence known during the period.
Almost three minutes later, Wayne Simmonds received a pass past the Ottawa defense and scored on the breakaway to give the Flyers a two-goal lead. Simmonds goal was assisted from Brayden Schenn and Daniel Briere. Twenty seconds after the second goal was scored, Ottawa went on the penalty kill as Colin Greening received a two-minute minor for slashing L. Schenn.
Ottawa did kill off the penalty and Greening received a pass as soon as he left the box, which gave him an open lane for a breakaway chance. He was stopped by Bryzgalov, who had been very strong up to that point. Bryzgalov gave a rebound to the side boards, which found its way to Marc Methot, who buried a shot to the back of the net from the point. It was Methot's first goal of the season, which cut the Flyers lead to one.
The second period saw a lot of chances for Flyers offense. They outshot Ottawa 22-9 in the second period, which gave the Flyers the lead in shots 32-23. The game came down to a decisive third period.
The Flyers had two early power play opportunities for they could not capitalize on either attempt. They did, however, get many scoring opportunities. A very loud and opportunistic period determined the outcome of the game. Giroux and Voracek had very good games for Philadelphia. The Flyers outshot the Senators 41-34. Bryzgalov had another good game for the Flyers with 33 saves.
In a winning effort, the Flyers killed off four penalties, which has been a key for their success in victories this season. The Flyers will head to New York to take on the Rangers on Tuesday, March 5th at 7 PM.
David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant Sports. Follow me on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.