Call it a missed opportunity by the Ottawa Senators.
Jakub Voracek scored the game winner for Philadelphia and the Flyers closed out their season with a 2-1 win in Ottawa on Saturday, depriving the Senators of gaining ground in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We flat out didn’t play hard enough to win the game,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean. “That’s disappointing at this time of year.”
The Senators finish the regular season at Boston on Sunday night — a game originally scheduled for April 15 but postponed because of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Saturday’s loss leaves the Senators sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference making for a very muddy playoff picture as they take on the Bruins. If the Senators lose in regulation they would finish eighth and face the Pittsburgh Penguins. If they win in any form they would finish seventh and face the Montreal Canadiens. If they earn a single point they would still finish seventh, but face the Boston Bruins.
MacLean was expected to give some of his veterans Sunday night off, but with so much on the line that is no longer the case. The Senators are 0-2-2 against the Bruins this year.
“We’re going to play the best team that we can that gives us the best chance to win the game,” said MacLean.
“We’re going in to win a game. We haven’t beaten that team yet this year. We’ve been close on a number of occasions and tomorrow we have to go in and win a game.
Jason Akeson also scored while Steve Mason faced 44 shots for the Flyers (23-22-3).
Philadelphia failed to advance to the post season for just the ninth time in franchise history.
Kyle Turris scored the lone goal for the Senators (24-17-6) as Craig Anderson picked up the loss facing 25 shots.
The Senators continue to struggle offensively. In their last five games they have outshot every one of its opponents, often by significant margins, but only have two wins to show for it.
“Just because we throw 40 at the net doesn’t mean that we’re getting great scoring chances,” said Anderson. “We had some good scoring chances, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve got to find a way to score on a few of those.”
The Flyers took a 2-1 lead midway through the third as Voracek beat Anderson with a wrist shot, quieting the 20,232 on hand.
Ottawa continued to struggle with the man advantage, going scoreless on five opportunities.
“I thought our power play was better tonight than it has been in a while,” said Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson. “We seemed to find more seams, more shots and at least generated momentum so that’s a good sign.”
Ottawa tied the game early in the second as Turris was able to find just enough room short side to beat Mason. The goal came as a result of some good work down low by Chris Phillips and Colin Greening.
Phillips picked up his 200th NHL career assist on Turris’ goal.
The Senators were the better team in the first outshooting the Flyers 14-5 and dominating play, but some sloppy play by the Senators in their own end led to Akeson scoring his first NHL goal in his first game in his home city.
Anderson made an initial save on Claude Giroux, but he and defenceman Erik Karlsson were both unable to clear the rebound leaving the puck waiting for Akeson.
“He’s a hard working kid out there with some talent,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette of Akeson. “I thought he had a good game for us.”
Notes: Karlsson was the focus of a pre-game video and fans gave a huge cheer when announced that he was in the starting lineup. C Jim O’Brien, C Peter Regin, LW Guillaume Latendresse, C Mike Hoffman, D Patrick Wiercioch, D Mike Lundin and D Andre Benoit were healthy scratches for the Senators. Ottawa is without C Jason Spezza (upper-body injury, day-to-day).