Senators deny Flyers in SO
The Ottawa Senators sure like to crash a party.
With the Philadelphia Flyers looking to lock up a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Senators refused to play the genial host on Saturday night.
Centre Mike Fisher scored in the fifth round of the shootout to lift Ottawa to a 4-3 victory against Philadelphia at Scotiabank Place.
After Flyers centre Daniel Briere and Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson exchanged shootout goals through the first three rounds, the balance of the game rested on Fisher's shoulders.
"It's always nice to score like that," Fisher said. "We didn't quit. We got behind and [Jason] Spezza got a nice one to get back in it and that's a pretty good team. I thought for the most part we battled pretty hard."
The veteran forward was up to the task, beating Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki on the glove side.
While the Flyers failed in their bid to secure a post-season berth, they are getting close.
With four games remaining, Philadelphia needs only one more point to advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Philadelphia (42-25-11, 95 points) currently sits in fourth place in the East with the Carolina Hurricanes (44-28-7, 95 points) and is ahead of ninth-place Florida by eight points.
However, Carolina clinched a playoff berth Saturday with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and will finish with more wins — the first criterion of the NHL tiebreaker system — than the Panthers regardless of whether the teams finish the season with the same amount of points.
The Flyers can still earn the final home-ice spot if they can end the season in fourth.
"The good thing about the position that we're in is we don't really have to scoreboard-watch as long as we take advantage of the games that we have in hand," said Philadelphia forward Mike Richards. "Tonight would have been nice to get two points, but we still have a couple of games left to get home-ice advantage."
Spezza led way for Ottawa with a goal and an assist, while goaltender Alex Auld made 31 saves.
Nick Foligno and Chris Kelly scored the Senators' other markers.
Richards, Darroll Powe, and Simon Gagne replied for the Flyers, with Niittymaki finished the game stopping 35 shots.
"He [Niittymaki] played really well and was a big reason we picked up that point tonight," said Powe.
Senators off to good start
Foligno got Ottawa off to a good start, scoring with the Senators on the power play at 10:42 of the first period. Foligno completed a nifty three-way passing play after tapping the puck behind Niittymaki.
The Senators went up 2-0 just 2:26 into the second following Kelly's 11th goal of the season. Kelly took a long pass from defenceman Chris Campoli, split the Philadelphia defence and beat Niittymaki between the legs.
It only took the Flyers 32 seconds to get that goal back. Powe was awarded a penalty shot as Senators defenceman Filip Kuba was called for hooking Philadelphia's centre on the breakaway.
Powe then beat Auld along the ice.
The Flyers evened the game with a power-play goal at 10:46 when Richards fired his 30th goal of the season over Auld.
Richards becomes the fourth Flyers player to reach the 30-goal mark this season.
Gagne put Philadelphia ahead 3-2, taking advantage of an Ottawa turnover 28 seconds into the final period as he backhanded the puck under Auld.
The Flyers' returned to the turnover favour more than three minutes later, allowing the Senators to tie the game 3-3.
Spezza took a pass from linemate Dany Heatley and blew a snapshot by Niittymaki.
With files from the Associated Press