Flyers blow two-goal lead, fall to Senators

Flyers blow two-goal lead, fall to Senators
January 9, 2012, 12:20 am
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OTTAWA -- There are some things in hockey you can pretty much take to the bank, even ones teetering on edge like Bank of America.

Things like two-goal leads in the third period holding up.

The Flyers had what appeared to be one of those safe, two-goal leads Sunday at Scotiabank Place and somehow blew it at the end, along with a weekend sweep of the Senators.

Ottawa won, 6-4, with Filip Kubas bouncing point shot with 1:11 left to play serving as the game winner.

It was deflected off us, said goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. I cant play without bad bounce goals. Its my fate I guess.

The Flyers kissed away two points they needed to chip at the Rangers lead in the Atlantic Division.

Thats totally unacceptable, Danny Briere said. Thats three out of the last four games weve blown two-goal leads. This is a tough one. Especially, after the game we played last night, coming back late in the third period and winning in overtime.

Youre on the road, winning by two, you cant be doing what we did today. I thought were turned the puck over way too many times throughout the game.

I felt we were too soft. I hate saying that and it usually doesnt happen with the Flyers, but physically, we got outplayed. Ottawa was running around way too much for my liking.

That the Flyers blew it on the road is stunning given they came into play as the NHLs ultimate road warriors with a league-best 14-5-2 record.

Our team, generally speaking, needs to play a better game, a smarter game against a team that forces a lot of turnovers, coach Peter Laviolette said.

With a lead, 4-2, our team needed to make better decisions throughout the entire game. Coming off last night, we gave up way too much.

Three minutes into the final period, Colin Greenings shot from the left circle tipped off Flyer defenseman Matt Carle, changing directions and going five-hole to make it 4-3.

Three minutes later, Jaromir Jagr, back after a two-game absence for a groin injury, was pick-pocketed by Sens defenseman Erik Karlsson, who made the All-Star roster and showed why with a brilliant plus-5 outing.

Karlsson came flying in transition up the left boards, three-on-one, to beat Bryzgalov with just a little space between his pads.

He said the rules changes that narrowed the goalie pads came into play here.

There was a three-on-one, and I just tried to be patient, Bryzgalov said. Its funny. When I squeeze my pads, because its nature. Remember the complaint? About the pads and pucks not going through.

I show you this little space between the pants and pads and he hit it right over there and the puck went through.

Jagr was stunned at his turnover, but at the same time took a shot at his defense.

I dont know where our defense went and what happened, Jagr said. I was surprised it was three-on-one, especially when we had a one-goal lead. He just poke checked it.

With a little over five minutes to play, Brayden Schenn got a re-direct on net, but goalie Craig Anderson made the save.

Really disappointing, Laviolette said.

Karlssons goal was the crusher.

He played a strong game and did a lot of good things for them, Laviolette said of a player the Sens hope will turn into the next Nick Lidstrom.

Take away all the turnovers in the final period and the ending is different.

Mistakes and obviously we didnt play our game and sat back and watched them play, Claude Giroux said.

Guys werent really thinking out there. Our line has to be better. We didnt play the way we should have.

Giroux's line was held scoreless in both games against Ottawa this weekend.

Both the Senators and Flyers scored on their first shots. There was a fight and a goal before the game was a minute old.

Zac Rinaldo dropped gloves with Zenon Konopka just after the opening faceoff. At 54 seconds, the Flyers coughed it up with Kyle Turris feeding Daniel Alfredsson in the high slot.

For whatever reason, Bryzgalov wasnt standing tall in net, but moving around, and Alfie pocked his 14th goal.

The Flyers got it back quickly at 2:32 on their first attempt as Andrej Meszaros shot from the point appeared to hit two Senators skates, including Anderson, to make it 1-1.

Max Talbot, who had several good shots on Anderson in the period, got a perfect setup from Wayne Simmonds four minutes later. Instead of firing hard, Talbot put a soft shot off the pads or the Flyers lead right there.

Four minutes later, Bryzgalov failed to control a crease rebound with a couple of Sens jabbing at the puck as Chris Neil got it under him for a go-ahead goal that was upheld on review, making it 2-1 at 8:28.

Undaunted, the Flyers struck twice in 29 seconds during the final 4:29 of the period, first with a wrist shot from rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon, who appeared to just fling the puck toward the net. It hit the inside of the far post at 15:31.

That was Bourdons first goal in 11 games.

Fellow rookie Sean Couturier pulled the Flyers ahead at 16:00, leading an odd-man rush into the zone, looking as if to pass, then quickly firing through Anderson to make it 3-2. It was his first goal in 22 games.

With the lead like that after two periods, you cant let it slip, Couturier said. Weve got to be better for 60 minutes.

Matt Read, who got a temporary promotion to the first line during Jagrs absence, had to settle in on the fourth line for this game, but he took advantage of his minutes on the power play.

After the Flyers failed to convert a brief two-man advantage in the second period, Read scored 5-on-4 at 14:08 to give Bryzgalov a two-goal lead heading into the third.

Anderson made a pad stop on James van Riemsdyks one timer, but was down and out on the rebound as Read buried his 13th goal. The score tied him with Edmontons Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie goal-scoring lead.

We played a good 40 minutes, but they took advantage of our turnovers right around their blue line, Read said. We need to learn from our mistakes here, get pucks deep in the third period and how to keep a lead.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

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