Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 0


Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 0


Updated: 11:06 p.m.

OTTAWA -- They talked about building on their victory over Edmonton last weekend and doing some damage on this three-game road trip to get back into the playoff picture.

Well, the Flyers could not have asked for a better start with a 5-0 rout over the Senators on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

It was goalie Steve Mason’s first career shutout as a Flyer. He had 24 saves.

It was also the first time this season the Flyers had consecutive games in which they scored three or more goals.

The game featured two wraparound goals by the Flyers on Sens goalie Craig Anderson. Better yet, the Flyers sustained pressure on the Senators. Even when they weren’t getting shots on net, they controlled the puck and thus, controlled the game.

Which is what coach Craig Berube has been preaching.

It was a milestone game for Claude Giroux and a breakthrough game for Scott Hartnell.

Giroux’s second-period assist on Jakub Voracek’s goal represented the captain's 300th NHL point in 350 games played.

Hartnell’s marker on that very same goal ended his assist drought at 38 games, stretching back to last season.

Giroux’s line was dominant and hard on the puck with nine shots through two periods.

On Wednesday, the Flyers will try for a season-first: A three-game win streak.

Nick Grossmann left the game late in the third period with an apparent injury and never returned. After the game, Berube said Grossmann was "fine."

Top guns
Berube elected to match top line for top line, pitting Giroux head-up on South Jersey’s Bobby Ryan, who came into the game with nine goals and 19 points, tied for 12th-best in the NHL in scoring.

Waved off
Ottawa had a goal waved off late in the game because Chris Neil’s stick was above the crossbar.

No shots, then score 
After starting the game outshooting the Senators, 6-2, the Flyers then went 10 minutes without a shot. Guess what? They scored on their seventh shot to end the drought with 3:36 left in the period. Steve Downie shot one over the net and it bounced behind as Matt Read caught it dead still, then quickly faked to beat Anderson on a wraparound for a 1-0 lead. Anderson actually thought the puck was going to carom into the boards and it didn’t. The Flyers had the puck for most of the period but didn’t get shots on goal.

Voracek had a perfect breakaway in the first period, tried to go backhand five-hole on Anderson and was stoned. Wayne Simmonds tried the same right after and shot right into Anderson’s pads. Voracek got it back with a wraparound goal just 28 ticks into the second period, then scored a power-play goal later in the period.

Turnover goal
Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot tried a cross-ice pass that was picked off by Vinny Lecavalier early in the third period. Lecavalier turned and fired between the circles for his seventh goal that gave the Flyers a 4-0 pad.

As the buzzer went off in the second period, Anderson got the paddle of his stick on Giroux’s shot at the left post to prevent a goal that would have counted given time on the clock.

He’s back
Downie returned from a four-game absence because of a concussion. He was on Sean Couturier’s line with Read.

The Flyers are in Pittsburgh on Wednesday to take on the Penguins in the second half of this current back-to-back. They will have a complete day off on Thursday when they travel to Winnipeg in the morning. They meet the Jets on Friday night.

Special teams
Voracek’s second goal in the middle period was the Flyers' first power-play goal in three games. The Flyers scored two power-play goals in the same game for the first time this season.

Defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Hal Gill.

Loose pucks
Michael Raffl missed the game with the flu. Although he made the trip, he did not skate in the morning. ... Last time the Flyers were here -- last April -- this building was called Scotiabank Place. Now it’s Canadian Tire Centre. ... The Flyers' first two goals saw their entire lines earn a point.

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Many, though not all hockey games, have a tipping point or pivotal moment that factors into the outcome.
Sometimes it’s obvious what it was and when the moment occurred. Other times, it’s overshadowed by something else on the ice.
Ask the Flyers which moment would define their come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo on Tuesday and the response will be virtually unanimous: when Dmitry Kulikov leveled Jakub Voracek with a high hit that made contact to the head in the third period.
Voracek was forced off the ice under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
That hit incensed the Flyers, who went on to score two power-play goals and tie the game, 3-3. The comeback was on.
Yet there was a less obvious but significant point that happened late in the second period, and it concerned goalie Steve Mason.
Matt Moulson had given Buffalo a 3-0 lead on Michal Neuvirth at 15:43, when Flyers coach Dave Hakstol elected to make a goalie switch.
Rather than call a simple timeout to buy Mason some warm-up time and allow his team to collect itself on the bench, Hakstol challenged the goal, claiming “goalie interference.”
Replays won’t show any direct interference on the shot itself. Neuvirth was speared several seconds before the play developed.
Hakstol knew the goal would likely not be overturned, but his strategy was to buy time for Mason and his team. By using a challenge, he knew the review process would take a lot longer than the 60-second timeout.
Either way, he was going to use his only timeout.
“You know what, I think we needed a timeout at that time, anyway,” Hakstol said coyly. “Pretty low probability of it being successful. Everything worked out well in the end.”
Mason appreciated what his coach did, too. Buying extra time for you?
“Yeah, probably,” Mason replied. “Regardless of the situation, you’re sitting on the bench, you know? You’re not really gauged as much as when you’re playing, obviously. So, you just try and ramp things up as quickly as possible.”
Mason had two saves in that shortened period, five in the third period and one in the overtime to register his second victory.
“There’s a never-quit attitude in this room,” he said. “We showed in Chicago — we were just talking about that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to close that one out.
“But guys have a belief that you get one [moment] and it comes. [Travis Konecny] got us going with his first NHL goal, which is great. The guys really pushed to capitalize on their chances.”

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

The kid finally has his first NHL goal.

Travis Konecny scored at 4:30 of the third period (see video) during the Flyers' 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo on Tuesday night (see story).  

His was the first of three power-play goals to erase a 3-0 deficit and get the Flyers into overtime.

First markers are always that much more special when they make a difference in a comeback victory, such as this one with the Flyers in a brutal stretch of six games in nine days.

“I am just excited that it happened,” Konecny said. “But the thing for me that was more exciting was coming back after that 3-0 [deficit] and an overall exciting night for us.”

The three power-play goals were a season high for the Flyers.

“We got going those two power plays ... our power plays set a tone,” Konecny said. “When that gets going, it makes it hard for the other team to stop us.

“It’s awesome because we know what they can do [on the top power-play unit]. They have been sticking with it and fighting the puck, whatever it’s been the past couple of games, but you know what they are capable of — you can see it the past couple of years. 

“You knew it was coming and tonight is the perfect night to get it going and I am sure that they are going to keep rolling with it.”

Schultz sits
The decision to sit 15-year veteran blueliner Nick Schultz to get Radko Gudas back into the lineup wasn’t easy but it made sense on several levels. Gudas had been suspended for six games.

First, Schultz doesn’t play on the power play, whereas Andrew MacDonald carries heavy minutes with the power play and penalty kill.

Brandon Manning? Not happening. He’s been the Flyers' best defenseman this season. Mark Streit? Doesn’t work because he quarterbacks the second-unit PP and is essentially teaching that duty to rookie Ivan Provorov.

“It’s real tough,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s part of the business and [Schultz has] done an excellent job. He’s always very well-prepared.

“We talked about what’s best for our team and we feel like Gudy going in, especially on a back-to-back, gives us fresh legs and a fresh body coming back into the lineup.”

Hakstol recently has had to switch around his defensive pairs to get more defensive coverage and consistency on the ice. For instance, moving Provorov from Streit to Manning.

He discounted Schultz’s age (34) as a true factor in the decision.

“I think the more flexibility you have, the better, whether it be for rest or for the injury situations,” Hakstol said. “First and foremost, I think we’re still looking for the true consistency that we need through our entire team, but certainly your D pairs are a big part of that. 

“Before we start getting to a comfort level of guys playing with different people, first we have to find true consistency. We’ve been pretty good, but we’ve had stretches where the consistency needs to improve, as well.”