Flyers come out flat, lose to Senators in a shootout

Ed Barkowitz, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on

Published in Hockey

PHILADELPHIA -- For most of Saturday's game against Ottawa, the Flyers channeled the energy of the Eagles. The 1968 Eagles.

The Flyers did well to gain a point, but lost to Ottawa, 4-3, in a six-round shootout.

Nolan Patrick scored with three seconds left to force overtime. Jordan Weal, Patrick, Jake Voracek, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Shayne Gostisbehere all were denied during the shootout. None of their efforts was particularly difficult for Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson.

Mike Hoffman beat Michal Neuvirth for the winner.

Not only did the Flyers lose to one of the worst teams in hockey, there's also a little goaltending drama going on with coach Dave Hakstol's club.

Rookie goaltender Alex Lyon got the surprise start ahead of Neuvirth and did not play well. Hakstol turned to Neuvirth at the start of the third period. The move gave the Flyers a shot of adrenaline, but it wasn't enough.

Lyon gave up three goals on 23 shots and was too often was out of position. He was making the second start of his career and looked it, especially in the first period.

A fourth goal allowed by Lyon was overturned by Hakstol's successful challenge of an offside that originally was missed by the linesmen. The violation really had nothing to do with the goal, which Matt Duchene scored by coming unchallenged from behind the net to beat Lyon.

The second period ended 3-1 and that's when Hakstol turned to Neuvirth.

The Flyers outshot the Senators, 16-3, in the third and Scott Laughton scored with 5:45 left to make it 3-2 to set the stage for Patrick's monster goal. Sean Couturier notched the Flyers' other tally.

Neuvirth, who had a poor outing at Washington on Wednesday when he allowed five goals to the first-place Caps, was deemed Friday to be healthy by general manager Ron Hextall.

After Wednesday's game, Neuvirth said he was fatigued and still battling the effects of an illness. The goaltender's comments surprised Hakstol, who tersely replied: "I'm not going to make too many comments on that. I'll talk to Neuvy first. And that's where it will stay."

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The Flyers controlled play for the first 10 minutes of Saturday's game before Duchene skated around Flyers winger Brandon Manning and roofed the puck past Lyon's shortside shoulder.

Less than a minute later, Derick Brassard jammed in the Senators' second goal. That was an effort play set up when Lyon got himself out of position on the initial rush.

The Senators came into the game with two wins in their last 18 road games and were playing without top scorer Mark Stone. Bobby Ryan also missed the game for Ottawa because of a hand injury.

Before the game, the Flyers showed a video montage of Eagles highlights, which included Doug Pederson's locker-room speech following the stirring win over the Vikings to get to the Super Bowl. Lauren Hart sang the national anthems wearing an Eagles jersey and frequently the crowd was encouraged to chant out E-A-G-L-E-S.

Instead of starting like the NFC champs, the Flyers were flatter than the 1968 Eagles that went 2-12 and angered fans enough to throw snowballs at Santa Claus.

If the Eagles do to their fans what the Flyers did to theirs on Saturday, emergency rooms throughout the region will be standing room only.

Starting goaltender Brian Elliott has a lower-body injury and missed his fourth game. He's expected to be available for Tuesday's game at Carolina, which is right on the Flyers' heels in the Metropolitan Division. The fifth-place Flyers have 57 points, Carolina has 56.

(c)2018 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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