Suddenly the Philadelphia Flyers look like a contender.
The Flyers won their second straight game with a 5-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. This is a sharp contrast to Philadelphia’s start to the season, when it scored more than two goals in a game only once, winning just four times in its first 15 games.
Jakub Voracek scored twice and Steve Mason made 24 saves as the Flyers won consecutive games for just the second time this season.
“We got back to the basics,” said Matt Read, who had the Flyers first goal Tuesday. “The first month we tried to do things when we didn’t have them and now we’re just keeping things simple by getting pucks deep and getting pucks out when we have to and winning puck battles along the boards.
“Those little things turn into victories.”
Vincent Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn also scored for the Flyers (6-10-1), while Claude Giroux added two assists.
It was Mason’s first shutout of the season and the 20th of his career.
“This was an extremely sound effort all around and from a defensive standpoint we didn’t give a lot up,” Mason said.
Craig Anderson stopped 26 of 31 shots in his first start in over a week after suffering a neck injury in a loss to Dallas on Nov. 9. The Senators (7-7-4) were shutout for the first time this season and had a three-game winning streak snapped in the loss.
Robin Lehner started and won all three games in Anderson’s absence and was named the NHL’s first star of the week last week.
When Senators coach Paul MacLean was questioned as to whether he was disappointed with his team’s effort, he responded by saying he thinks the whole city is disappointed.
“We had been playing well and we got exposed by a team that was a little more desperate than we were,” said MacLean, who faced some criticism for starting Anderson rather than the hot hand in Lehner.
“There are only 20 guys from Philadelphia that are happy with their game. I don’t think there’s anyone on our team that should be happy with their game and Craig is no different than the rest of us. There were 20 guys that went out there and 20 guys that didn’t get the job done.”
The Flyers led 3-0 after the second intermission and got goals from Lecavalier and Schenn to put the finishing touches on an embarrassing night for Ottawa.
There was very little flow through most of the first period, further evidence that both clubs are enduring early-season struggles.
“I don’t think we had much jump and it started early. We weren’t handling pucks and we kept it along the walls a lot which kind of slows things down and makes it tough to create momentum,” said Senators forward Zack Smith.
“There were a couple of giveaways in the defensive end that cost us, but you lose 5-0 and you can’t say the effort was there.”
The Flyers opened the scoring late in the first period when Read collected a puck behind the Senators’ net and scored on a wraparound.
His attempt actually hit the far goalpost but then found the back of Anderson’s leg and was redirected across the goal-line.
That 1-0 lead was quickly doubled in the second period as Voracek scored his first of the game 28 seconds into the period.
Voracek was behind the goal when he took a pass from Scott Hartnell and quickly reached around, beating Anderson to the post for his second goal of the season.
A touch more than 10 minutes later, Voracek gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead as he collected a rebound and put a shot over an outstretched Anderson with 30 seconds still remaining in an interference penalty to Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki.
The Flyers nearly took a 4-0 lead on some nifty passing between Voracek, Hartnell and Giroux, but Anderson made a diving save with the handle of his stick as time expired in the period.
Notes - Senators forward Erik Condra missed his fifth straight game Tuesday night with a muscle strain in his right legaForward Steve Downie played his second game of the season with the Flyers and first after missing four straight with a concussionaClaude Giroux collected his 300th NHL point, all with the Flyers, with his first of two second-period assists TuesdayaChris Phillips and Eric Gryba were scratches for the Senators while Michael Raffl, Andrej Meszaros and Hal Gill sat for the Flyers