(Ottawa, Ontario) – The Philadelphia Flyers battled back from a two-goal deficit late in the second period, but lost in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place, 3-2.
A generally uneventful second period ended with the Senators taking a two-goal lead before Philadelphia finally responded. The newly acquired Cory Stillman found Antoine Vermette cutting to the net for a goal with 4:56 left, but Kimmo Timonen’s shorthanded tip-in from R.J. Umberger cut the Senators lead to 2-1 with 41 seconds left.
Philadelphia tied the game at 3:09 of the third period, when Scottie Upshall redirected a shot from the top of the circle by Jim Dowd.
Kimmo Timonen hits Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson along the boards. (Getty Images)
The Flyers had several great scoring chances before the end of regulation. An Umberger slap shot from the circle sailed wide, and Sami Kapanen’s wrister on a two-on-one with Umberger was steered aside by goaltender Ray Emery.
Rookie Claude Giroux, recalled from his junior club on Monday, also had a couple of opportunities to be the hero. He just missed on a tip-in at the side of the net, and then almost got his stick on a rebound of a shot from the slot by Danny Briere with about five minutes left in the third period.
Later, Jeff Carter had a breakaway during a 4-on-4 situation, but lost control of the puck when he was hooked from behind. There was no penalty on the play.
An entertaining overtime period didn’t result in a goal so the game went to the shootout, where the Flyers have historically struggled. Timonen’s goal tied it 1-1 after Antoine Vermette scored on Ottawa’s second attempt, but Jason Spezza fired one through Martin Biron after that. Briere’s failed attempt ended the game.
Despite losing their eighth straight, the Flyers were able to at least get a point in the standings for the first time since a 3-2 win in Atlanta on February 5.
“We have to build on the positives,” said John Stevens after the game. “We were down 2-0 and regrouped. Kimmo got a big goal for us and we stayed with it. It’s a big point any way you look at it. We need points right now.”
“The third period we played pretty well. We just have to learn to play from the start,” added Timonen, who tallied his eighth goal of the season.
Biron played a solid game in net, making 33 saves. He was also involved in a couple of incidents with Spezza, as the Senators center whacked him in the head with his stick early in the game and then crashed into the goaltender with 1:03 left in the third period, taking out his legs.
“He really held us in there and made some key saves,” said Stevens. “He got roughed up a little bit there and continued to play well. It was certainly good to see him come back with a really strong performance.”
A costly turnover by the Flyers in their own zone led to Ottawa getting on the board first. Scott Hartnell tried passing the puck to Randy Jones at the point on a Philadelphia power play, but it was intercepted by Chris Kelly who buried the breakaway at 2:38.
The Flyers had a great chance to get the goal back when they went on a two-man advantage for almost a minute and a half later in the period, but a holding call to Timonen quickly nullified the opportunity.
Ottawa outshot the Flyers 10-3 in the frame.
The game marked the NHL debut of Giroux, the Flyers’ 2006 first round draft pick. He began the game skating with Hartnell and Briere, but was mixed and matched with other linemates as the game progressed. He finished with 9:27 of ice time, and accompanied the team back to Philadelphia after the game.
“It was a dream come true to me to play my first game in the NHL,” said Giroux. “I was a little shaky in the first period, but after that I was ready to go.”
He was then asked about getting called upon in the shootout.
“I had my move, I just didn’t put it in the net,” he said. “I guess that happens sometimes.”
The Flyers return home to host Jeremy Roenick and the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
Upshall scored for the first time since he had two goals in a 6-1 victory over Ottawa at the Wachovia Center, a span of nine games. … The game was the Flyers’ first road game to go to overtime this season. … Philadelphia has lost its last nine shootouts, and is 0-for-4 this season. … … Philadelphia won the first two games of season series, outscoring the Senators 10-4. The final game is at Wachovia Center on Feb. 28. … Stefan Ruzicka was recalled from the Phantoms on Monday, but was a healthy scratch for the game. … The Flyers fell to 5-6-3 against the Northeast Division. … Philadelphia is 17-13-1 on the road this season.