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Senators 4, Flyers 3: Comeback falls short in yet another shootout loss

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Nolan Patrick ties it late to earn a point, but Flyers lose on Hoffman’s shootout beauty.

Kate Frese / SBNation
Kate Frese / SBNation

The Flyers were flat out of the gates, but were bailed out late by Nolan Patrick to avoid a total loss in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

Patrick scored with just three seconds on the clock in the third period to pull the Flyers even at 3-3 and earn a point before losing in the shootout courtesy of a beautiful goal from Mike Hoffman of the Sens.

The rookie’s fifth goal of the season saved the Flyers from what would have been a fourth-straight defeat in regulation. Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux also found the back of the net for the Flyers, who overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period.

Michal Neuvirth came in for the ineffective Alex Lyon to start the third period, stopping all six shots he faced in regulation and overtime before stopping the first five Sens shootout attempts before he was beaten by an all-world move. Lyon allowed three goals on 23 shots.

In the end it was a case of missed opportunities in this one, as the Flyers went 0-2 on the power play and missed several scoring chances on Craig Anderson throughout the game.

First period

There was a chance for the Flyers’ recently reworked fourth line with Jori Lehtera registering a scoring chance, but Craig Anderson wasn’t budging in the Sens’ cage. Lehtera is still looking for his first goal as a Flyer, somehow.

Travis Konecny tried to get his hitting game going, but ended up a member of the Senators’ bench after a failed attempt at Jean-Gabriel Pageau a little over four minutes in as both teams weren’t shy about getting physical early on.

Through the first 10 minutes of the period the Flyers tilted the ice towards the Senators’ net, but squandered a pair of early power plays that didn’t generate many dangerous plays at Anderson.

Ottawa made the Flyers pay for their man-advantage shortcomings, with Matt Duchene giving the Senators a 1-0 lead at the 10:53 mark. Duchene walked around Andrew MacDonald and beat Alex Lyon with a nifty move.

The visitors didn’t waste much time grabbing a two goal lead, either.

Derick Brassard made it 2-0 Sens less than two minutes later, jamming home a puck on the goal line that Lyon couldn’t corral long enough to earn a whistle.

The Flyers did gain some momentum back thanks to back-to-back penalty kills from their 29th-ranked unit as the Senators missed out on a chance to really break things open in this one.

In typical Flyers fashion, they managed to dominate the first half of the period only to not score and then subsequently watch the Senators score twice in the second half of the period.

Second period

Giroux had a golden chance to get one back in the first minute of the second, but Andersen’s pad said no after a great drive and centering pass from Konecny. Andersen has always posted solid career numbers against the Flyers and was good early.

The Flyers would finally break through 3:53 into the period, as Sean Couturier would finish off a strong push up-ice and a nice feed from Radko Gudas to cut the Sens’ lead to 2-1. Andersen gave up a juicy rebound off the initial shot and paid the price. Gudas and Konecny picked up assists on the goal.

With some traction after Couturier’s goal, the Flyers carried play in the Ottawa zone for the better part of the next five minutes. Anderson stool tall on good chances from Michael Raffl and Valterri Filppula as the the Flyers pressed for an equalizer.

Nolan Patrick nearly had that equalizer as he rang a one-timer off the post on the blocker side of Anderson with 7:33 left. The Sens’ goalie did get a piece of it just before it rang off the iron.

Ottawa then took advantage of a two-on-one that ended up with Christopher DiDomenico putting the Sens up 3-1. Claude Giroux lost the puck at the Sens’ blue line, which sent in Ryan Dzingel away with DiDomenico in on Robert Hagg and Lyon. The goal came 35 seconds after Patrick hit the post at the other end.

In what was a first 40 minutes of missed opportunities for the Flyers, they were unable to take advantage of a late period power play. Things were nearly made worse as Matt Duchene thought he had his second goal of the day with 2.7 seconds left in the period. But Dave Hakstol challenged the goal and the play was ruled offsides.

Third period

Looking for a spark, Dave Hakstol would pull Lyon in favor of Michal Neuvirth to start the third period. Neuvirth was yanked against the Caps on Wednesday.

The Flyers came out with some good early energy, with Patrick forcing Anderson to make a sprawling save 2:32 into the final stanza. The effort was there as the Flyers were quick to several loose puck early on following a disappointing second period.

Shots were 7-0 in favor of the Flyers through the first 5:30 of the period as they turned up the pressure, but Anderson stood tall in his crease to keep the Sens’ two-goal lead intact.

Wayne Simmonds had a glorious chance with 6:44 left and a beautiful feed from Couturier, but Anderson was again in perfect position to make the save and turn the Flyers away once again.

About a minute later the Flyers would crawl back within one goal as Claude Giroux tipped home a Brandon Manning point shot to cut the Sens lead to 3-2 with 5:45 left. Both Claude Giroux and Scott Laughton were there to tip Manning’s shot and finally get another past the wall of Anderson.

Mike Hoffman nearly ended the comeback attempt with 2:31 left, but his rising shot rang off the crossbar and out of play. Neuvirth appeared to get a bit of it before it found iron, but the Flyers caught a break nevertheless.

Neuvirth would head to the bench shortly after and set the Flyers up with the extra man and a little more than a minute left. Sean Couturier tried to jam one past Anderson, but the goalie was able to corral the puck long enough to get a whistle.

A face off with nine seconds remaining would be all the Flyers would need to tie things up at 3-3 with Nolan Patrick grabbing a loose puck off a rebound and firing it home with just three seconds remaining.

The rookie had a bunch of great scoring chances in the game, but waited until the final seconds to break through and earn the Flyers a massive point. Given the three-game losing streak, it’s easily the biggest goal Patrick has scored as a Flyer.

Overtime

The extra session featured a slew of chances for both teams, the better of which came from the Senators, who forced Michal Neuvirth to make a pair of saves on odd-man chances. At the other end the Flyers didn’t hit the net enough in the extra session to make Craig Anderson make a few more saves.

Shootout

The shootout would be a marathon of saves for both goalies, but Mike Hoffman would be the first and only player to score, putting home a beauty in the sixth round to give the Senators the extra point and a 4-3 win.

The Flyers dropped to 0-4 in shootouts this year but picked up a valuable point to avoid losing four consecutive games in regulation for the first time in a long, long time.