PHILADELPHIA -- After beating the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette talked about how much he liked his team's effort and that it could serve as something to build on going forward.
However, the Washington team they beat 4-1 was playing for the second time in as many nights. It looked -- and played -- exhausted.
Saturday's opponent, the Ottawa Senators, last played Thursday, but the Flyers' effort stayed at the same high level in a 2-1 victory.
"I thought the guys played hard," Laviolette said. "We had lots of chances to score. There are some things I'd like to tighten up defensively, but overall to walk away … we said before the game just because of their goaltending and the way they play defense that you know you have to get comfortable winning a 1-0 game or 2-1 game. That's what it came down to. The effort was good, it was there. It was a big win."
Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds scored in the second period and Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves for his 200th NHL victory. But the biggest effort might have come from the team's penalty killers, who neutralized five Ottawa power plays, including one with 45.6 seconds left in regulation. The Flyers' penalty killers held the Senators to eight shots on their five advantages, with Nicklas Grossmann and Braydon Coburn each blocking shots on a game-ending man-advantage.
They also had to kill off a five-minute charging major in the first period assessed to forward Harry Zolnierczyk.
"We killed some big penalties there," said Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who was third among Philadelphia forwards with 3:46 of shorthanded ice time. "That five-minute one, they got a penalty during it, but our [penalty kill] always starts with our goalie and Bryz did a good job of stopping the pucks."
Marc Methot scored the Senators' lone goal, and goalie Ben Bishop stopped 39 of 41 shots. Ottawa played the final 7:31 of the game without captain Daniel Alfredsson, who was given a major penalty for cross checking and a game misconduct for an incident with Zac Rinaldo.
Rinaldo put a hard hit on Ottawa's Chris Phillips near the Senators' bench, and Alfredsson came directly after Rinaldo with a hard hit of his own.
It was the second major penalty and misconduct of Alfredsson's 17-season career; the other came April 9, 2002, against the Montreal Canadiens.
"Well, it's a bad play by him," Alfredsson said of Rinaldo. "Phillips is in a vulnerable position right by the boards and he hits him from the side, behind kind of, and I didn't really know if Chris was injured at the time or not, but I did not like that hit at all."
Rinaldo said he actually was impressed to have drawn Alfredsson's attention.
"I think it's pretty cool Daniel Alfredsson came after me," he said. "I watched him growing up. I think it was pretty cool."
The penalty left the Senators without their captain and top offensive player in a game they were losing by one goal, but Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said he was OK with Alfredsson getting tossed at that time.
"We're not just going to let teams run around and run us and just accept it, that's not going to happen," MacLean said. "I thought the penalty that Alfredsson took was a good one. … We're going to protect ourselves and that doesn't change for any team in the League as far as we're concerned. We’re going to take care of ourselves."
After a scoreless first period, the Flyers took the lead at 7:24 of the second on an outstanding individual effort by Voracek. Luke Schenn chipped the puck into the Ottawa zone along the right wall with Voracek outracing Ottawa's Eric Gryba to the puck. He cut into the right circle to elude a backchecking Zack Smith and beat Bishop low to the glove side for his ninth of the season.
It was Voracek's third goal in five games, and gave him 15 points in his past eight.
"Right now he's a strong power forward, one of the strongest in the game," Laviolette said. "The goal tonight was a perfect example of using his speed down the wall and muscling somebody off of it and having the skill to get back and find open ice and deliver your shot all in one motion. There's been a lot of that from Jake lately."
Philadelphia made it 2-0 at 11:23 on Simmonds' ninth of the season. Brayden Schenn spotted Simmonds on the rush with a cross-ice pass through the Ottawa zone. Simmonds skated to the net, made a nice forehand-to-backhand move and slid the puck between Bishop's pads.
Ottawa chipped into the lead at 14:11 of the second on Methot's first goal of the season. Colin Greening jumped out of the penalty box to corral a Senators clearing pass and broke in alone on Bryzgalov, but the netminder made the save. The puck popped over the net, where Greening retrieved it, skated into the right circle and found Methot joining the play at the right point. Methot's long, low shot beat Bryzgalov to the glove side.
"We had some great chances, some great looks," Alfredsson said. "We moved the puck around pretty good, but at times we have a tough time setting up in their end and that does kill momentum, but I saw signs of improvement."
Their best chance to score came at 9:13 of the first period, when Zolnierczyk was assessed a charging major and a game misconduct for a hit on defenseman Mike Lundin just inside the Philadelphia blue line.
Zolnierczyk appeared to hit Lundin in the head, and the blueliner remained down on the ice for about a minute before skating off the ice with assistance. He did not return to the game, and afterward MacLean said Lundin had sustained a concussion on the hit. It was his first game back in the lineup after missing five games with the flu.
It's the second straight game in which Zolnierczyk has been given a game misconduct. Late in the third period against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Zolnierczyk was penalized for kneeing and ejected for a hit on Mathieu Perreault. The next day the NHL rescinded the game misconduct and Zolnierczyk was not subject to supplemental discipline.
In this case, Zolnierczyk faces a Sunday afternoon hearing with the Department of Player Safety.
Just 1:12 into the advantage, however, the Senators were whistled for having too many men on the ice. They had 1:48 left in their advantage when that penalty ended, but in total the Senators had five shots on what became two power plays.
|Harry Zolnierczyk Charging (maj) against Mike Lundin|
|Harry Zolnierczyk Game misconduct|
|Zac Rinaldo Fighting (maj) against Kaspars Daugavins|
|Kaspars Daugavins Fighting (maj) against Zac Rinaldo|
|Dave Dziurzynski Too many men/ice - bench|
|Colin Greening Slashing against Luke Schenn|
|Kimmo Timonen Roughing against Zack Smith|
|Luke Schenn Holding against Erik Condra|
|Zack Smith Holding against Scott Hartnell|
|Zack Smith Roughing against Zac Rinaldo|
|Daniel Alfredsson Cross checking (maj) against Zac Rinaldo|
|Daniel Alfredsson Game misconduct|
|Zac Rinaldo Roughing against Chris Phillips|
|Erik Condra Hi-sticking against Claude Giroux|
|Kimmo Timonen Holding the stick against Chris Neil|