Ottawa, Ontario – Mike Knuble scored twice and Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Jon Sim added goals as the Philadelphia Flyers gave the Northwest Division leading Ottawa Senators just their second loss of the season, 5-3 at the Corel Centre.
With the game tied at two in the second period, the Flyers scored a couple power play goals before the intermission to take a 4-2 lead.
First, Eric Desjardins lifted a slap shot from inside the blue line while Knuble was setting a screen in front of Ottawa goaltender Dominik Hasek. The puck glanced off of Knuble and in the net at 16:21.
Sim generated a score shortly after to give the Flyers a two-goal cushion. He got behind Anton Volchenkov and was tackled by the Senators defenseman to draw a holding penalty at 18:08. With the man advantage, Sim snuck into the slot and one-timed a feed from Michal Handzus at 19:40 for his fourth goal of the season.
Knuble's second goal of the night and sixth of the season on a tip-in from an excellent feed from Gagne at 1:14 gave the Flyers a three-goal lead early in the third period.
"We've found ourselves in that position a lot of times this year, with a good lead going into the third," said Knuble. "Tonight, we added another goal and hung on there. It was something we talked about, wanting to make sure we get things right."
"We fought really hard," said Ken Hitchcock. "Ottawa is a team that, everybody talks about their speed, but it's not their speed. To me, it's their competitiveness. I think every board battle is critical, every puck fight is critical, and when you play them you have to be prepared for it. As soon as you let up, that's when they take over. I think it's the same with us. We are able to compete at a very high level, and this is a good win for us."
Ottawa had a chance to get back into the game when Peter Forsberg and Derian Hatcher were whistled for penalties giving the Senators 1:11 of two-man advantage time, but the Flyers killed it off and then got a power play of their own when Wade Redden hooked Mike Richards to end the threat.
Redden scored on the power play at 9:58 to make it 5-3, but Robert Esche made sure the Flyers' lead stood up making 39 saves in arguably his best game of the season.
"Robert was the best player on the ice tonight," said Gagne.
"He was outstanding," said Hitchcock of Esche. "He was good the whole game. To me, this looked like the Robert Esche of '04. He's a solid goaltender, and when you see him play like this, it looks like the Esche of '04."
The Flyers opened the scoring on Carter's second goal of the season. Carter played give-and-go with Patrick Sharp, got behind Redden and beat Hasek at 9:20.
Philadelphia increased its lead to 2-0 on the power play. Forsberg battled for an offensive zone faceoff win, kicking the puck to Desjardins at the point. Desjardins skated up the boards and fed Gagne for a deflection at 14:52.
Hasek kept Ottawa in the game with some key saves, as he stopped Sim alone at the side of the net about three minutes into the game as well as a Richards breakaway midway through the period.
Zdeno Chara's one-timer on the power play at 17:37 cut the Philadelphia lead to 2-1, where the game stood at the first intermission.
Chara tied the game in the second period at 7:16, when his wrist shot got by Esche.
The Flyers begin a five-game homestand on Thursday at the Wachovia Center against the Washington Capitals. Atlanta, Boston, the New York Islanders and Florida also visit before the team's next road game on November 14 in Tampa Bay.
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Flyers captain Keith Primeau was feeling ill and missed the game. R.J. Umberger, recalled from the Phantoms earlier in the day, took his place in the lineup and made his NHL debut. … Kim Johnsson left the game in the first period due to a left groin strain and did not return.