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Flyers vs. Senators recap: Shootouts are evil

The Flyers continued their homestand with a shootout loss to Ottawa, losing 3-2

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After leading for most of the third period, the Flyers lost a 3-2 shootout decision to the Ottawa Senators in their first match-up of the season. While the Flyers appeared to be the better team for most of the night, a few key breakdowns gave the Senators enough of a chance to send the game to a shootout, where the Flyers met their fate.

The Senators coming into this game were very much the anti-Flyers. They were very sound defensively, having allowed just 35 goals in their 15 games. However, their offense has not been good, and hadn’t scored more than twice in a game since October 25. Of course, the Flyers would have seemed to cured many team’s offensive woes this year, having conceded two or more goals in every game they’ve played this year. As is Hakstol’s wont, the Flyers lineup did not change following Saturday’s win. The Senators did not have any significant injuries for tonight’s game.

After an uneven start, the Flyers would draw first blood. A neutral zone turnover from Derick Brassard eventually led to a 2-man breakaway with Brandon Manning joining the puck-carrying Nick Cousins into the offensive zone. Cousins was thinking shot all the way and wristed it by Anderson for the opening goal of the game at 5:14.

The rest of the first period seemed emblematic of the Flyers season as whole. The Flyers ended up with a 10-9 shot advantage, but the more dangerous chances seem to come off Senators’ sticks. Mason, unlike most of the starts he’s had so far this season, was up to the task and stopped all shots in the period, including one set up by some local kid you may or may not have heard of, since he’s from Cherry Hill and all...

A goaltender interference by said local native gave the Flyers the lone power play of the period, which carried over into the second.

The Flyers wouldn’t convert the power play, but would carry most of the play early in the second. However, after some sloppy outlet passes in their own zone, Mark Stone was able to snipe one passed Mason from the slot to even the score at 1. The lead would last for about six minutes, until Raffl would stuff home a rebound from a Dale Weise shot. The play came off a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare faceoff win, and the Flyers were able to effectively work a preset play to recapture the lead at 13:18.

The Senators would push back following the goal, as Mason foiled a Stone breakaway, and several dangerous Senators chances in the minutes immediately following the Raffl goal. The Flyers would settle things down with some good chances of their own, including one by Schenn that beat Anderson but missed the far post by inches, and for the second time in the contest the Flyers would carry over power play time into the next period. Shots in the second were 16-9 Flyers, and outside of a three minute window following the second Flyers goal, they were dominate in the period.

The third period opened with several power plays for the Flyers. In addition to the carry-over penalty, the Senators were whistled for two more violations early in the third, but couldn’t get anything past an aggressive Senator PK and Anderson. Whenever you don’t convert that many power plays, an uneasiness tends to build in a close game since you can always point back to it and say they should’ve buried them there. Although the Flyers played a good defensive period with the lead, Kyle Turris was able to catch Mason out of position on a wrap-around with just under two minutes left to tie the score. On replays it looked like Mason was expecting a pass instead of a shot, and Turris was able to convert fairly easily. Neither team really did anything of note after that, so it was off to overtime. Shots on the period were 8 apiece.

The first few minutes of OT were uneventful, but a questionable non-call in the Ottawa end left Turris and Karlsson unopposed on Mason. But like Icarus, they flew too close to the sun and Mason was able to snuff out the opportunity until Giroux could get back to help out with the situation. Neither team was able to finish the deal in overtime, so they went to the ever-dreaded shootout. After five shootout attempts by the Flyers that can best be described as unimaginative, Erik Karlsson brought about the inevitable by beating Mason and ending the game in favor of the Senators.

Other assorted observations:

  • Nick Cousins was a force the first ten minutes of this game. In addition to the opening goal, he had several other chances that Anderson snuffed out. However, one can only do so much with the linemates he had this game, and wasn’t too much of a factor the rest of the game. Bursts like this, though, make a case for him to get in more games.
  • As the first half of the game progressed, the game got more and more chippy, with several post-whistle skirmishes and boarder-line hits becoming commonplace. One such hit sent Matt Read to the locker room after getting thrown to the ice awkwardly by Mark Borowiecki. Some would say the refs butchered the call by not calling a penalty. Read would come back before the end of the second.
  • Ottawa’s powerplay came into tonight’s game dead last in the NHL. After seeing their efforts in this game, it’s not hard to see why as they had difficulty gaining the zone and sustaining any pressure against the Flyers PK, and even gave up some quality shorthanded chances. The Flyers power play, while producing several good chances, couldn’t convert on four chances.
  • The Del Zotto-Ghostisbehere pairing may not be working out. While having both offensive defensemen on the ice at the same time may seem fun, they were caught being a bit too aggressive at times and it led to some dangerous chances against.
  • Ivan Provorov seems to have settled down from his early-season jitters and played a solid, even if unspectacular game. The fancy plays will come later, but for now we’ll gladly take a series of small, effective plays to help limit chances against and set up chances for the Flyers. It does appear there’s sawdust coming out of his mitts whenever he’s got a chance to score, as evidenced by a 3-on-1 that he missed wide by a good margin late in the third.
  • If you’re looking for razzle-dazzle, look no further than the other teenager on the Flyers, Travis Konecny. His speed is very evident whenever he is on the ice, and the defense must account for him at all times or he will be off and running. Some other areas of his game remain a bit raw, but it’s hard to ask more of the 19-year old in his first 20 games of the year. Perhaps his biggest effect is on the second power play unit, which looks a lot more dangerous than previous years thanks in large part to his efforts.

This game was another tough loss, where it can be argued the Flyers were the better team and didn’t get the deserved result. However, Mason continued to show some improvement making several difficult shots, and the offense continued to pepper the opposition with the majority of the shots. It can be a bit frustrating at times to see points left on the table, but with continued efforts like this, the wins will come eventually. We hope, at least.

The Flyers’ next game is a 7 p.m. start on Thursday against the Jets at the Wells Fargo Center.