Flyers-Senators: 5 things you need to know

Flyers-Senators: 5 things you need to know
December 9, 2013, 11:00 am
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The Flyers (13-14-2), who have now failed to get over the .500 mark three times this season, will continue their six-game road trip on Monday evening against the Ottawa Senators (11-14-5).

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (TCN) at Canadian Tire Centre.

Here are five things you need to know for the game:

1. That’s all, folks
It may only be December, but the Flyers won’t have to worry about Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan and Jason Spezza for much longer.

Monday will be the third and final contest between the Flyers and Senators this season.

The Flyers dominated Ottawa in the teams' first two meetings, handing the Sens a 5-0 loss on Nov. 12 at Canadian Tire Centre and a 5-2 defeat on Nov. 19 at Wells Fargo Center.

It could be a clean sweep for the orange and black, as the Senators have struggled at home as of late. Ottawa enters Monday having lost five straight in its own building.

The last time the Senators dropped six straight in Ottawa was during a 10-game slide from Dec. 29, 2010, to Feb. 18, 2011.

2. Right back at it again
Steve Mason allowed more than three goals for the first time since joining the Flyers last season in Saturday’s 5-1 disaster against the Dallas Stars.

Forget about it. That game was not a reflection of Mason’s play. Had it not been for Mason, the Flyers probably could have given up 10 goals.

Mason surrendered four goals on 26 shots through the first two periods before head coach Craig Berube pulled him in favor of Ray Emery. Three of those goals came in a 62-second span.

To make things clear, Mason was not yanked as a punishment. Berube likely saw it as a chance to rest Mason and, perhaps, spark the team.

Berube would be smart to go right back to Mason for Monday’s tilt with Ottawa. The netminder is 5-2-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average in seven career starts against the Sens and has allowed only two goals in two games against them this season.

3. Pick up the scoring
The Flyers have played 29 games and still don’t have a single player with 10 goals. That is a problem.

Matt Read and Vinny Lecavalier are tied for the team lead with nine markers, but there are a handful of other forwards who the Flyers need to start contributing regularly.

Jakub Voracek is mired in a 12-game goalless drought. Michael Raffl hasn’t scored yet as a Flyer. Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds have just five tallies each.

The Flyers can’t keep relying on the third line of Sean Couturier, Steve Downie and Read to carry the offensive weight – although that trio has done a tremendous job doing just that while also playing against the opposition’s best skaters.

Scoring has been an issue most of the season. The Flyers are 29th in the NHL in goals per game (2.17). It’s time for the top skaters to turn it up a notch or the Flyers could find themselves sliding back down the Metropolitan Division standings.   

4. Injuries
The Flyers will be without Lecavalier for at least three to four weeks after general manager Paul Holmgren announced Sunday that the center has a non-displaced fracture in his lower back (see story).

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen left in the second period of Saturday’s loss to the Stars with an upper-body injury and is listed as day to day. Timonen would not elaborate on how the injury occurred and could miss Monday’s game.

The Senators do not have any injuries to report.

5. This and that
• Brayden Schenn, Giroux, Lecavalier, Timonen and Voracek each have three points in two games against the Senators this season.

• Ottawa has allowed six power-play goals on 18 chances over its last five home games.

• Couturier has five goals and nine assists in 29 games this season. He needs just one more point to match his season total from last year.

• Senators forward Clarke MacArthur has three goals and two assists in his last five games.

• The Flyers are 10-5-2 since a 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Nov. 1 dropped them to 3-9-0.