Flyers' goal to cut down penalties as they visit Sens
Monday, 10.17.2011 / 9:52 AM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorFLYERS (3-0-1) at SENATORS (1-4-0)
TV: CSN-PH, SNET-E, TVA
This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. They split four games last season, with Philadelphia winning the first two games at home, followed by Ottawa winning the final two games in their building. The most recent meeting saw Jason Spezza
score a goal and assist on three others in a 5-2 Senators victory.
Both teams will be looking to rebound from one-goal losses Saturday. The Flyers dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Los Angeles Kings, while the Senators fell 2-1 to the Capitals in Washington.
Coach Peter Laviolette is happy about most aspects of his team's start, but the trips to the penalty box are getting a bit excessive for him. He's not disputing the calls, just the players committing the infractions.
The Flyers committed five third-period penalties against Vancouver in the home-opener last week, and followed that with four third-period penalties Saturday against Los Angeles. The final one, a tripping call on James van Riemsdyk
with 19.9 seconds left in regulation, led to the Kings' overtime power-play goal.
Through four games, the Flyers have 76 penalty minutes, fourth-most in the League entering the week.
"It's not so much the penalties right in front of the net, or stopping a scoring chance or what have you," captain Chris Pronger
said Saturday night. "It is the little hooks, high sticks 200 feet from the net that really hurts you. Those are usually the ones that come back to bite you and they did."
Despite Saturday's loss in Washington -- their fourth in five games this season -- there were positive signs for the Senators.
They kept the high-powered Caps off the board for all but a 3:14 span in the first period, and more than doubled them in shots over the final two periods, 26-12.
Not bad, considering their 7-1 blowout loss at home to the Colorado Avalanche 48 hours earlier.
"We did a lot of great things," said captain Daniel Alfredsson
, who had a chance in the final minutes to tie the game. "I think after what happened at home against Colorado, we had to have a bounce-back game. That's really encouraging and gives us something to build on."
Pronger is tied for third among defensemen in scoring with 5 points in four games. He has a point in each of the Flyers' first four games, his longest scoring streak since registering a point in four straight from Jan. 13-23, 2010. … Senators forward Milan Michalek
has 5 points in his first five games. Last season, it took him 10 games to score that many points.
The Flyers are a fully healthy team. … Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar
played just 8:47 against the Caps due to a foot injury suffered blocking a shot. He's questionable for Tuesday's game, as is forward Bobby Butler
, who sat out Saturday with a groin injury. Defenseman Matt Carkner
is out recovering from knee surgery, while forward Jesse Winchester
(concussion) has been cleared for contact in practice, but is not ready to return to the lineup.
Of the Senators' 13 goals this season, 10 have come in the third period of games.
The Senators believe outside of last week's blowout loss to the Avalanche, the team hasn't played as poorly as its record indicates; the biggest problem is putting in a full effort over 60 minutes, something they have yet to do.
They feel they were close to getting that done Saturday in Washington. But moral victories don't count in the standings, so the goal going forward is seeing if they can build from the positives heading into Tuesday's game.
"For us, it's about learning, and learning how to play a game like that for 60 minutes and knowing that we can come in and play with a top-level team," goalie Alex Auld
, who suffered the loss in Washington, told the Ottawa Citizen. "So I think that's huge for us. But we can't just say, 'Oh, we came close against the Capitals.' We have to want more, and be pushing for more.
"But it's good to see a lot of what the coaches have been talking about and what we've been working on in practice come out in a game. It's a positive thing.”