Flyers lose third-period lead, shootout to Sens

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Flyers lose third-period lead, shootout to Sens

BOX SCORE

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.”

Best of NHL: Sabres snap Blues' 6-game winning streak

Best of NHL: Sabres snap Blues' 6-game winning streak

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Robin Lehner stopped 16 shots in the third period and 37 overall, and the Buffalo Sabres snapped the St. Louis Blues' six-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory on Saturday.

Evander Kane and minor-league callup Nicholas Baptiste each had a goal and an assist in Buffalo's third straight win, matching a season best accomplished three times. Ryan O'Reilly also scored for the Sabres (26-23-10), who have three more wins than losses for the first time since closing the 2011-12 season 39-32-11.

Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for St. Louis, which lost for the first time since a 4-1 defeat to Pittsburgh on Feb. 4 (see full recap).

Jets spoil Julien's return to Montreal
MONTREAL -- Patrik Laine and Mathieu Perreault each had a goal and an assist, and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled Claude Julien's return to Montreal with a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday.

Joel Armia also scored for Winnipeg (27-29-5), and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 19 shots. The Jets had dropped five of six.

The Canadiens fired coach Michel Therrien on Tuesday and hired Julien in hopes of getting their season back on track. Julien also coached Montreal from 2003-2006.

But Julien's first game back was more of the same for the first-place Canadiens (31-20-8), who have lost three in a row and seven of eight (see full recap).

Senators top Leafs to gain on Canadiens
TORONTO -- Mark Stone had a goal and four assists, Derick Brassard scored twice in the third period and the Ottawa Senators recovered after blowing a two-goal lead to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Senators pulled within two points of Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa led 2-0 after one period but trailed 3-2 in the third before getting a tying goal from Mike Hoffman and a power-play goal from Brassard. Stone and Brassard added empty-netters, and Chris Wideman and Ryan Dzingel also scored for the Senators.

Ottawa has won four of five overall and three of four against the Leafs this season. Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots.

Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri and William Nylander scored and Auston Matthews had two assists for the Maple Leafs. Frederik Andersen allowed four goals on 40 shots (see full recap).

With Jordan Weal out, Flyers' Dale Weise sees opportunity to get back on solid ground

With Jordan Weal out, Flyers' Dale Weise sees opportunity to get back on solid ground

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Jordan Weal’s pain is Dale Weise’s gain.

Weal, 24, who has showed tremendous promise in just two games and a period since being called up from the Lehigh Valley, will be sidelined with an upper-body injury Sunday, as the Flyers (24-27-7) visit the Vancouver Canucks (25-27-6) at Rogers Arena.

Weise, who has played sparingly of late, will take replace Weal in the lineup. The winger will be asked to play a prominent offensive role, as he skates on the second line alongside Sean Couturier and top scorer Jakub Voracek.

“I’m glad to be back in the lineup,” Weise said after a practice Saturday. “You never want to be out of the lineup. It’s frustrating. I’m just trying to do my work here in practice and trying to be ready when I can, and I think this is a pretty good opportunity to come in and play with two good players, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Weise will get a chance to renew his worth to the team after sitting out the last two games, and seven of the last 12 overall, as a healthy scratch.

“It’s probably the most difficult season I’ve ever had,” Weise, a 28-year-old journeyman, said. “I’ve never been scratched this much in my life. A couple games in a row, I’ve never been through that before.”

He views Sunday’s contest as a “fresh start” and, with only two goals and three assists on the season, a chance to pick up his offensive game.

“I’m just really hoping to get in and just find a way to contribute and get a couple bounces and score a number of goals,” said Weise, who has just one point in his last 29 games and has not scored since Nov. 23.

“It’s been difficult because I feel like I’m playing good hockey. I just can’t get a bounce into the net. I’m around the net. I’m getting chances. It’s just not going in, which is frustrating since it’s been the way it’s going for our whole team.”

The Flyers have lost five of their past six games, including the first two games on this three-game swing through Western Canada. Clearly, coach Dave Hakstol is also expecting Weise to make the most of his chance.

“He’s got a great opportunity to go in [Sunday] and to step in and to help our team,” Hakstol said. “I’m sure he’ll be ready and prepared to do that. Sometimes it’s about the timing of an opportunity and taking advantage of the opportunity. On a couple of different levels, obviously, that would be a real positive for us.”

Hakstol lamented the loss of Weal, who will be reevaluated after the team returns home Monday. Weal, a native of the Vancouver suburb of North Vancouver, was denied a chance to play before family and friends, made an impression with Hakstol after being promoted from the AHL.

Weal averaged 11:50 of ice time in three appearances, and Hakstol left little doubt that he will miss the chance to call upon him here.

“He added something every game,” Hakstol said. “Obviously, it was two games and a period, but he’s dynamic. He hadn’t been here [this season], but he had the puck quite a bit. He looked like a player that was confidently on the top of his game, and I didn’t think any of that was lost in the transition from Lehigh to our team.”

Now, Weise has a chance to impress the coach again in a game against one of his former teams. Weise played about three seasons for the Canucks between 2011-12 and 2013-14 before he was traded to Montreal during former coach John Tortorella’s one-and-done season with Vancouver.

Does Weise have extra motivation to shine against his former club?

Maybe not, he said.

“The first couple of years when I was traded, I always felt like I had something to prove,” Weise said. “Obviously, it’s a team I played for before, but it’s a completely different management and coach and stuff, so it’s a little different feel.”

Meanwhile, captain Claude Giroux, who has just two goals in his past 23 games, is also looking to score more. Actually, he wants his whole first line to start scoring more as the Flyers battle for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to find a way to produce,” Giroux said.

What’s been the problem?

“If we knew we would have fixed it four of five games ago,” Giroux said. “We’re getting a lot of shots on the net.”

But Hakstol was not about to criticize his captain’s effort, even though he has a woeful minus-20 mark this season.

“For whatever the reason, in the last month, he’s just gone in the wrong direction,” Hakstol said. “That’s not just [the] individual. That’s a team item, and we’ve gotta push that in the right direction.”

If they do, the Flyers can start to make up for some shoddy road play. They are 2-10-2 in their last 14 road games and have gone 0-6-2 in Western Canada lately. But Hakstol, other than for what he described as a bad game in Edmonton, has few complaints about his team’s play away from home.

“We played a hell of a road game in Calgary,” Hakstol said. “We’ve been doing that on a pretty regular basis, and I’m confident we’ll do that here.”