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Alfredsson Leads Ottawa Over Flyers, 6-3

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, December 23) – Daniel Alfredsson broke a third period tie with what turned out to be the game-winning goal as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at the Wachovia Center, 6-3.

Dany Heatley maneuvered around defenseman Derian Hatcher to get a backhand on goaltender Antero Niittymaki, and Alfredsson lifted in the rebound with 11:35 left in regulation.

The Senators put the game away with two more scores. Peter Schaefer lifted the puck into an empty net on the power play while Niittymaki was being interfered with by Antoine Vermette at 12:29, and Alfredsson got his second of the game with Niittymaki pulled for an extra attacker in the game's final minute with Ottawa shorthanded.

It was Philadelphia's ninth straight loss.

It looked like Ottawa would take a 3-2 lead into the locker room after two periods when Jeff Carter was stopped on a breakaway with 1:34 remaining. However, Sami Kapanen made a perfect pass from the corner to a charging Kyle Calder in front of the net and Calder's second of the season at 18:50 tied the score.

The Senators trailed 2-1 at the beginning of the middle frame, but outshot Philadelphia 17-8 and took the lead. Chris Phillips fired a wrist shot over the far shoulder of Niittymaki at 12:34, and then Denis Hamel took advantage of a turnover by Jussi Timonen in the neutral zone and fired in a slap shot at 14:13 on a two-on-one rush.

"The first shift (of the second period) we turned the puck over, spent maybe a minute and a half in our end, and it just kind of snowballed from there," said John Stevens. "Clearly, we got out worked from that point on."

"It's been a problem all year. When we get the lead we sit back and they took it to us in the second and carried it into the third," said Carter.

Ottawa opened the scoring on the power play. Alfredsson found an open Joe Corvo, whose shot went through the five-hole of Niittymaki at 6:09.

The Flyers responded with a pair of goals to take the lead. First, Ben Eager found the rebound of a shot from the top of the circle by Stefan Ruzicka at 12:30 for his second goal of the season.

Carter put the Flyers ahead when his one-timer on a feed from Calder found the top corner of the net at 17:28. Philadelphia outshot Ottawa 16-7 over the first 20 minutes.

Martin Gerber picked up the win in net with 26 saves while Niittymaki allowed five goals on 41 shots.

The Flyers have two games remaining against the Senators this season, both in Ottawa, on January 7 and March 17. The Senators won the first game on 3-2 in overtime at the Wachovia Center on November 22.

The Flyers now embark on their annual late December/early January road swing, which makes eight stops before the team's next home game on January 11 vs. Montreal.

"It's tough right now. We're banking on getting a win and hoping to do a little better the next few games," said Sami Kapanen.

Calder had his first multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist. ... Peter Forsberg remained out with a concussion. … Mike York made his home debut as a Flyer. … Ottawa's leading scorer, Jason Spezza, is out for a month with a knee injury. … Defenseman David Printz was reassigned to the Phantoms before the game. … The Flyers are now 1-19-1 when allowing the first goal of the game. … Ottawa was 2-for-5 on the power play while Philadelphia was 0-for-5.
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