Flyers-Senators: What you need to know

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Flyers-Senators: What you need to know

Flyers at Senators – 7 p.m., CSN
Scotiabank Place, Ottawa

Records
Flyers: 22-22-3 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)

Senators: 24-16-6 (Fourth in Northeast Division, sixth in Eastern Conference)

Last meeting
The last time these clubs faced off, the Flyers were handed a frustrating 3-1 defeat by the Senators on April 11 at the Wells Fargo Center. Ilya Bryzgalov was sharp in net, stopping 31 of 33 shots before Daniel Alfredsson sealed a victory for Ottawa with an empty-net tally. Zack Smith and Colin Greening were the only two Sens to beat Bryzgalov. Claude Giroux recorded the Flyers’ lone goal in the first period.

Saturday will mark the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Flyers and Sens have split the first two contests, which were both held at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.

Previous games
The Flyers closed out the home portion of their disappointing lockout-shortened season with a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday. Danny Briere, in what likely could have been his last home game as a Flyer, scored for the first time in 20 games and rookie Oliver Lauridsen netted the game-winning marker in the third period to give the orange and black their third straight victory. Bryzgalov turned aside 21 shots to help the Flyers finish the season 15-7-2 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Not only did the Senators clinch a playoff berth by beating the Washington Capitals 2-1 in overtime on Thursday night, but they also got their star defenseman back. Erik Karlsson, in his sooner-than-anticipated return, collected two assists after missing 31 games with a lacerated Achilles’ tendon. Jakob Silfverberg and Sergei Gonchar each scored for Ottawa, which had lost its previous two games.
 
End of the road
The Flyers will play their final game of a trying 2013 season when they take on the playoff-bound Senators on Saturday night. It will be just the second time since 1995 that the orange and black have failed to reach the postseason.

A major reason why the Flyers will not be playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs is because of their play on the road. When away from the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers have posted a 7-15-1 record –- good for third-worst in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers, however, have put together a string of inspired hockey since being eliminated from postseason contention. They have won three consecutive games and could end their frustrating season above .500 with a win.

Keep an eye on ...
The Senators will be looking for their 12th victory in the Flyers’ last 14 visits to Ottawa. The orange and black should pose a tough test, as they have won five of their last six and have outscored opponents 23-11 in the five victories.

Giroux has a two-point lead on Jakub Voracek, who was given the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers’ most valuable player on Thursday, for the team lead in scoring heading into Saturday’s season finale. Both skaters have paced the Flyers’ offense this season. Giroux has a team-high 34 assists, while Voracek leads the Flyers with a career-high 21 goals.   

Karlsson proved how dangerous the Senators can be when he is in the lineup. Last season’s Norris Trophy winner was expected to miss up to six months after Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke stepped on the back of his leg on Feb. 13, but returned in spectacular fashion on Thursday. He logged a game-high 27-plus minutes, fired eight shots on net and assisted both of Ottawa’s goals.

Milestone watch
Simon Gagne needs three points to reach 600 in his career. The veteran forward collected an assist on Briere’s first-period goal on Thursday.

Did you know?
The Flyers have scored 19 more power-play goals than their opponents over the last two seasons. The only team in the NHL that has a higher differential on the PP during that span is the Pittsburgh Penguins (30).

Injuries
Flyers: Kimmo Timonen (foot), Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder surgery), Braydon Coburn (separated left shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Bruno Gervais (torn stomach muscle), Kent Huskins (concussion), Zac Rinaldo (high left ankle sprain), Max Talbot (broken left leg) and Jody Shelley (left hip surgery) all remain sidelined.

Senators: Jason Spezza (back surgery), Dave Dziurzynski (concussion) and Mike Hoffman (collarbone) are all on injured reserve and are out indefinitely.

Sound off
Which Flyer(s) would you like to see or not see return next season? Why?

Best of NHL: Bryan Rust notches hat trick as Pens score 8 in win

Best of NHL: Bryan Rust notches hat trick as Pens score 8 in win

PITTSBURGH -- Bryan Rust had his first career hat trick, Sidney Crosby added his NHL-leading 17th goal and the Pittsburgh Penguins raced by the Ottawa Senators 8-5 on Monday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each had a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, and Matt Cullen and Justin Schultz also scored. The Penguins poured in six goals over the final 32 minutes after spotting the Senators a 4-2 lead. Matt Murray made 17 saves after coming in for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.

Pittsburgh has won three straight overall and improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine against the Senators.

Matt Stone had a goal and two assists for Ottawa. Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Ottawa, which lost in regulation for just the second time in its last eight games (see full recap).

Capitals rally late for OT win over Sabres
WASHINGTON -- Marcus Johansson scored the tying goal late in the third period and got the winner midway through overtime to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

The goals were Johansson's third and fourth in his last five games. He has 11 for the season.

Jay Beagle added the Capitals' first even-strength goal in three games, as Washington snapped a three-game losing skid. Braden Holtby made 31 saves in the victory, the Capitals second over the Sabres in an 11-day stretch.

Kyle Okposo scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to give the Sabres the lead in the second period. Zemgus Girgensons also scored early for Buffalo, and Robin Lehner made 30 stops for the visitors (see full recap).

Blue Jackets sweep series from Coyotes
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sam Gagner had two goals and two assists to help the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Arizona Coyotes for the second time in three days, 4-1 on Monday night.

Nick Foligno and Zach Werensky also scored for the Blue Jackets, who won for the fourth straight time and ninth of their last 12. Columbus picked up its 500th win in franchise history in sweeping the two-game season series with the Coyotes.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 17 shots for Columbus.

Arizona backup goaltender Louis Domingue had 30 saves, two days after the Blue Jackets hammered starter Mike Smith with a franchise-record 60 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory in Phoenix.

Arizona struck first 9:28 into the game when Alex Goligoski fed a pass on a power play to Tobias Reider, who slammed it past Bobrovsky's glove side from between the circles (see full recap).

Matt Read out approximately a month; Flyers recall Taylor Leier, send down Scott Laughton

Matt Read out approximately a month; Flyers recall Taylor Leier, send down Scott Laughton

Updated: 7 p.m.

Flyers winger Matt Read will miss approximately a month with an upper-body injury suffered in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Predators when he was checked by Filip Forsberg. Sources tell CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio the injury is an oblique muscle pull in Read's upper torso.

The 30-year-old has six goals and four assists for 10 points through 27 games. Five of those goals came in the Flyers' first five games.

To replace Read's roster spot, the Flyers recalled Taylor Leier and sent Scott Laughton to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. That likely means penalty-kill specialist Boyd Gordon (back), who is eligible to come off long-term injury reserve, will be activated.

Leier, 22, has been playing well with the Phantoms, posting six goals and 14 assists in 22 games (see Future Flyers Report). This is Leier's second stint of the season with the Flyers, albeit his first was short — one game on Oct. 25 in which he was a healthy scratch. He made his NHL debut last season and played six games.

Laughton was a healthy scratch the past five games.

If for some reason Gordon is not activated, the Flyers can call up another forward from Lehigh Valley. Jordan Weal is tied for second in the AHL with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 20 games, while veteran winger Colin McDonald is an experienced, bottom-six option.