Don't look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers are playing pretty good hockey.
The Flyers extended their season-long winning streak to three games, topping the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-2. They won every key statistical battle - shots on goal, total shot attempts, scoring chances - and controlled play during the vast majority of the contest. Sean Couturier led the team with three points, including an empty-netter that iced the game, while goalie Steve Mason made 23 saves.
Rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere opened the scoring with his fourth goal in nine games. He took a pass from Claude Giroux and skated way down into the right faceoff circle before wristing a shot top corner past a surprised Craig Anderson. Brayden Schenn received an assist as well, and the Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 lead with six minutes left in the first period.
But they could not hold their advantage through the conclusion of the period. Evgeny Medvedev tried to chip the puck out of the defensive zone around the boards, and it was cut off by Ottawa's Cody Ceci, who fed Zack Smith in the slot for the tying goal. The relatively even period would end with the score 1-1.
The second period wasn't even at all - the ice was firmly tilted in the Flyers' direction. Medvedev redeemed himself as a Milan Michalek penalty expired, ripping a shot past Anderson to give Philadelphia back the lead. But it would be short-lived. Kyle Turris took advantage of Michael Del Zotto's aggressiveness at the blueline to spring his teammates on a two-on-one, which ended with the red-hot Mike Hoffman blasting a one-timer past Steve Mason to tie the score at two apiece.
Ottawa nearly took the lead with five minutes remaining in the period, as Bobby Ryan deflected a point shot past Mason. The officials deemed the goal to have been caused by a high stick, an assessment that was confirmed by the Toronto offices. That gave Wayne Simmonds the opportunity to put the Flyers back in front. Simmonds took a wrist shot on the rush and then collected his own rebound, beating Anderson with the second-chance opportunity. Philadelphia outshot Ottawa 18-5 in the second period, and went back to the locker room up 3-2.
The Senators turned up the pressure in the third period, as the Flyers sagged a bit in the neutral zone and began to struggle in their own end. But every time Ottawa generated a chance, Mason was there to answer, making 12 big saves in the final stanza. A late penalty by Mark Borowiecki's slowed the Senators' attack briefly, and then Couturier was able to close out the win with an empty net goal after Anderson was removed for the extra attacker.
Comment of the Night
OTT broadcasters: "Bobby Ryan grew up in NJ about 15 minutes from where the players live"
I thought I would be CHNBR-reference-free by listening to the OTT feed
>> Bud in TN