Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 0

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Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 0

BOX SCORE

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.

Injuries
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.

Stoned
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.

Again
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.

Back-to-back
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.

Scratches
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.

Flyers focused on actual game instead of Stadium Series event

Flyers focused on actual game instead of Stadium Series event

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The toughest challenge for the Flyers this weekend might be themselves.

They’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins outdoors on Saturday as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series event. That should be a big deal.

Yet, given their circumstances right now, how can they possibly enjoy the moment?

Maybe had this game been played in early January, before the team hit a crisis point in the standings, and was winning, it would be easier to relax.

The fact is, the Flyers have lost seven of their last 10 games, are drifting as the 11th team in the Eastern Conference, and the second wild card they held for so long seems far from their reach.

Tough to have fun and soak up the atmosphere when there’s so much pressure to start making up ground in the playoff hunt.

“Yeah, we’re there to have two points,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said Thursday. “If this was earlier in the season, we could take it in a bit more, but it’s all business for us right now. It’s just playing.”

That attitude extends right up to coach Dave Hakstol, who didn’t break a smile when talking about what’s really important here.

His team is desperate for points. There are 22 games left in the regular season and 19 are against Eastern Conference opponents.

The Flyers need to win a bunch of games and get hot like they did last season in March if they are going to recapture a wild-card berth.

“Honestly, it’s business first,” Hakstol said. “There is something to the event and certainly something important with family and the type of event it is. But, let’s be honest. Right now, it’s business first. That’s what our focus will be.

“Points. Simple as that. It’s two points. We need the two points and it’s a road game and it happens to be in an event-type situation.

“So we’ve got to make sure we handle all of that in terms of our preparation. But the bottom line is it comes down to the two points that are at stake on Saturday night.”

Michal Neuvirth will make his sixth consecutive start in goal for the Flyers. He was a backup to Semyon Varlamov at Heinz Field during the 2011 Winter Classic as a member of the Washington Capitals against Pittsburgh.

“We’ve got to focus on the game,” Neuvirth said. “There is going to be a lot of distractions. Lot of families and friends in town. But we’re gonna go there and it’s all about business and trying to get the two points.”

Hakstol is only slightly concerned about the hype taking away from the players’ focus. If the Flyers were coming into this game on a win streak, he and his players wouldn’t be quite as uptight as they are right now.

You can cut the tension in the Flyers' dressing room these days with a skate blade.

“You need a little mental attention to detail there,” Hakstol said. “That’s what it is. We’re in that mold. I don’t think that’s a big hump to overcome. I think we’ll be OK.”

Heinz Field holds 68,000 people. The NHL expects 60,000 in attendance. Regardless, it will be the largest crowd ever to witness a Flyers game.

“It’s more exciting and a must-win for us,” said Michael Raffl, who played outdoors once in Europe. “A huge game no matter where we would have played it. We could play it at Skate Zone and we’d be excited.”

Giroux said it will be “weird” being on the ice because his past experiences in outdoor games saw him drown out the fans as much as possible. Yet he admitted the sheer number of fans this time might make that difficult to do.

“It’s pretty exciting to play in the Steelers' stadium,” he said. “Playing against Pittsburgh, it should be a great game.”

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).