Jason Spezza scores the deciding goal past Steve Mason in Monday night's shootout to lift the Senators over the Flyers, 5-4. (USA Today Images)
OTTAWA -- They had a lead.
A third-period lead against a bad hockey club.
A club that had only won twice in 16 games when trailing after two periods.
And the Flyers couldn’t hold, folding 5-4 to the Senators in a shootout that left them 2-2-1 on this six-game road trip (see Instant Replay).
“We sat back too much [that period]," said Michael Raffl, who scored his first NHL goal in the loss. "They came out flying and really wanted it.
“We did a lot of positive stuff out there, but we didn’t manage to come up with a win.”
Claude Giroux seemed to have the game in his hands late in regulation when goalie Craig Anderson, bad as he was, made a stop on the Flyer captain’s backhander.
Giroux said he thought he had that one.
“I fanned on it and it was a backhander I wanted to get up as quick as possible,” he said. “He was out of his net and I just fanned on it.”
The Flyers led 3-2 going into the third period.
“Anytime you have a lead, you want to keep it and make everyone accountable for what they do,” Giroux said. “They got a couple goals, we fought back and got a point, but I don’t know, I think it’s tough to lose in the shootout.”
Anderson made a save on Giroux in the shootout, too. Sean Couturier could have extended the shootout and hit the crossbar (see highlights).
“Going into a third period and giving up the lead is tough,” said goalie Steve Mason, who wasn’t as sharp in this one, making 30 saves and giving up four goals for the second consecutive game.
“I thought we did a good job of coming back and tying it, but it’s difficult to give up the lead. It’s not something you want to do.”
The Flyers are 1-2 this season in shootouts.
“That’s where I wanted to go,” Couturier said of his shot off the crossbar. “A half-inch lower and I think it was in. I had him.
“We had the lead and were in control and two lucky bounces and now we’re down a goal. But we fought back. We got a big point. It would have been nice to get two points.”
Defensively, the Flyers were far too loose in coverage for parts of the game.
“When you get a lead in the third, you got to be able to lock it down,” said Luke Schenn, whose long shot from the right boards in the second period had given the Flyers that 3-2 lead going into the third.
“When you give a team life by letting up a goal early in the [third] period there, it’s tough to bounce back. You got to lock those down.”
The game-winner in the shootout came from Sens captain Jason Spezza, who deked, stopped and scored.
“It’s something we saw in the pre-scout,” Mason said. “I thought I held my ground there. Great hands on him and a good move.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube wanted something more but liked the effort.
“I thought the guys battled hard the entire game,” Berube said. “It was kind of a back-and-forth game but a competitive game.
“Some funny goals tonight. I didn’t think we generated enough early on but we picked it up as it went on. Any time you are not generating offense or shots, you are too much in your own end and we were too much in our end the first half.”