By JAY BOEHMER
Staff Writer — firstname.lastname@example.org
In what was immediately recognizable as the game’s turning point, Simon Gagne was boarded by defenseman Anton Volchenkov, causing a turnover that sprung a Daniel Alfredsson rebound to take a 2-0 lead a mere 17 seconds into the third and final period.
Simon Gagne, frustrated with the surprising non-call on a hit that could easily draw a suspension, jumped Volchenkov and, in a rare right, began throwing fists. He was given nineteen minutes of penalty time that put the Flyers on the penalty kill for the next seven minutes.
Instead of being down a goal with a power play forthcoming, the Flyers were down two and facing seven minutes of exhausting shorthanded play.
This game was a very important one for the Flyers in their hunt for the playoffs. A win would have put them in a tie with the Senators and given them the 5th seed. However, with the 2-0 loss, they now sit down four points from the Senators and tied with the Canadiens for the 6th seed in the playoff race.
It was a chippy game throughout, with Dan Carcillo taking a questionable hit that led to a scuffle and him drawing a couple of penalties. With an angry team and even angrier fans, the Senators came out with bodies flying; the Flyers answered in kind.
The Flyers kept their zone tight defensively, a far cry and major improvement over the last couple of games. This was a necessity, having to kill off 17 total minutes of penalties, including six of the first nine minutes of the game.
Their defensive successes and high level of intensity generated a fair amount of offense, including a second period in which the Flyers were able to outshoot Ottawa 11-6. However, it seemed like Brian Elliott had their number as he has all season.
With about four minutes left in the third, when the Flyers were knocking on Elliott’s doorstep, it appeared as if Kimmo Timonen had gotten it across the goal line before Volchenkov got his glove on it to pull it out. Upon review, there was enough doubt in the minds of the men to whom the decision belonged that a goal was not called on the play and the Flyers remained down 2-0.
Missing a key component in Jeff Carter, and having Simon Gagne miss an entire period, the Flyers’ offense left something to be desired on the night. They were frustrated by the penalty parade for sure, but playoff caliber teams find ways to get goals in games like these, and the Flyers will have to if they have any serious hopes of a run through the playoffs.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Bill McCreary: Veteran referee, McCreary stood and watched Simon Gagne sent into the boards off a hit in the numbers, a big no no in the hockey world, yet decided to keep his whistle at his side. This turned out to be the play that turned the game around.
Brian Elliott: Keeping the puck out of the net for the full 60 minutes two games in a row, Elliott now has four wins over the Flyers this season, including two shutouts. He stopped all 26 shots last night.
Dan Carcillo: Carcillo generated his share of scoring chances, even taking an elbow to the face to do so, and managed to draw three penalties on the night, fulfilling his job description to perfection.