The Philadelphia Flyers are in the middle of their best stretch of hockey during the 2022-2023 season. A six-game point streak follows them into Ottawa at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Ottawa Senators won the recent tilt at the Wells Fargo Center, 4-1.
Felix Sandstrom made his second consecutive start. Carter Hart remains out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.
Gaining a new perspective, John Tortorella watched tonight’s road game from the suite with Daniel Briere. Brad Shaw served as the bench boss. Tortorella, with Briere, presents a chance to compare notes about what they see out of the lineup on the ice. Players on expiring contracts treat the final stretch like a tryout with the Flyers, hoping to take any momentum with them into the offseason.
Did Philadelphia take the season series against the Senators?
Philadelphia Flyers at Ottawa Senators
We didn’t know how rare scoring chances would become after James van Riemsdyk and Tony DeAngelo failed to score on Cam Talbot during an early odd-man rush. Not challenged often, Talbot couldn’t find a groove against the Philadelphia Flyers, but he lucked out when van Riemsdyk and DeAngelo caught the post.
The Ottawa Senators seized possession for most of the tilt, making Sandstrom work for each save. Powerplay chances aided their shooting advantage.
Austin Watson broke onto the scoreboard first, slipping a rebound attempt past Sandstrom, 1-0. Nick Seeler and Travis Hamonic tangled at the boards; Hamonic didn’t return. The Senators outshot the Flyers, 17-2, heading into the first intermission.
Showing vital signs, Philadelphia went on the powerplay. The Flyers’ powerplay had to steal conversions with the man advantage. DeAngelo made up for clinking the puck off the post earlier, burying a powerplay goal after searching for the best shot, 1-1. He made an impression during this contest, getting to Ottawa on the scoreboard and physically with a hit on Alex DeBrincat.
Tim Stutzle drove the Senators’ offense for most of the game, introducing scoring chances to his linemates. Nick Holden fired a shot from the blue line, deflecting off of Brady Tkachuk, but the puck hit the crossbar. Cleaning up the rebound, Stutzle put Ottawa ahead, 2-1. What followed was a boiling point between the two clubs.
Joel Farabee and DeBrincat traded punches. Nicolas Deslauriers took on two Senators skaters in back-to-back fights; Watson and Mark Kastelic. Deslauriers brought the right energy to his team, who went 2/2 on the penalty kill with Scott Laughton in the box. Unfortunately, Ottawa got another powerplay chance moments later. Shane Pinto deflected the puck just above Sandstrom on a snapshot by Mathieu Joseph, 3-1, after Travis Sanheim blocked the initial attempt to score.
In less than two and a half minutes into the third period, Claude Giroux made the lead 4-1 after Stutzle made a perfect stretch pass.
“They didn’t see our true game and how we can play. We know they were asleep in the third. We had a good third and took it to ’em a little bit. We’re opportunistic, which was good, and it got us a point tonight.”Noah Cates; 3/30/2023
Maybe there is something to the former Philadelphia captain scoring versus his old team, but it revived the Flyers. Cam York cut the deficit in half after his wrist shot beat Talbot; 4-2. On another powerplay, Rasmus Ristolainen blasted a heavy slap shot on goal, deflecting off of Noah Cates, 4-3. Then, following a puck battle victory along the boards, Morgan Frost and Kieffer Bellows moved the puck to Sanheim, who found Owen Tippett for the equalizer, 4-4.
“Up until the third period, we didn’t play how we wanted to play. We simplified things and put pucks on net.”Owen Tippett; 3/30/2023
Philadelphia forced overtime, extending the point streak to seven games while being outshot 44-11 at the end of regulation. Sandstrom kept the Flyers alive, especially when the offense flatlined.
In overtime, Ristolainen had a shot ring off the post. Sandstrom made an awful turnover behind the net, passing to DeBrincat without a Philadelphia sweater nearby. DeBrincat scored on a mostly open net for the game-winner, 5-4.
When regulation time expired, the Philadelphia Flyers had eleven shots on goal. Tippett and Cates echoed a similar sentiment; the Flyers didn’t play the game they wanted and caught the Ottawa Senators napping in the third period.
Time of possession and the number of scoring chances heavily favored the Senators. The game played like one that should have ended handily in regulation time. Ottawa dominated the pace; Philadelphia should’ve lost 5-2. Forcing overtime showed how opportunistic the Flyers were, making the most of their powerplay.
Philadelphia played hard for Sandstrom. Sandstrom went 40/44 between the pipes, supporting the Flyers’ comeback. Talbot went 7/11, never settling.
Despite very limited offense, Philadelphia attacked the crease and forecheck, rewarding Sandstrom before the meltdown in overtime.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, April 1st at 7pm.
(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)