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POSTGAME 5: Coots There It Is

Couturier nets shootout winner, JVR leads with a pair as Flyers down Sens, 5-4

by @BillMeltzer

The Flyers outdistanced the Senators in a back-and-forth affair, taking a 5-4 win in a shootout. 

The Flyers started off the scoring with a PPG from Kevin Hayes 3:16 into the contest, and stretched it to a 2-0 lead on a goal from James van Riemsdyk 63 seconds into the second frame. Ottawa reset the score with two tallies 25 seconds apart, one from Tyler Ennis 6:00 in and the next from Mark Borowiecki at 6:25. 

Anthony Duclair gave the Senators a 3-2 lead on the man advantage with 1:39 left in the second, only to see Jake Voracek re-tie the game 51 seconds later. van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers another advantage when he scored 1:10 into the third period, but that in turn was answered by Ennis with 9:43 to play. 

The Flyers had seven shots in the overtime alone but couldn't solve Marcus Hogberg; Sean Couturier ended up doing it in the final round of the shootout, while Brian Elliott stopped all three shootout attempts in addition to his 30 saves in regulation and overtime. Hogberg turned away 34 of 38 Philadelphia bids. 

Three Stars:
1st: James van Riemsdyk (2g)
2nd: Tyler Ennis (2g-1a)
3rd: Jakub Voracek (1g-1a)

It could very well have been several saves from Marcus Högberg, especially in overtime, but the turning point goes to Brian Elliott, who after several key saves in the first period, bailed out the Flyers again by going perfect in the shootout, including the final one on Vladislav Namestnikov with the game on the line.Video: PHI@OTT: Elliott denies Namestnikov to win shootout

* Hayes' ability to protect the puck has been very much on display in recent goals. On his first period power play goal, Hayes powered his way to the net with the puck and beat Högberg.

* Puck luck is often self-made. James van Riemsdyk's puck luck has turned in his favor in recent games but that is because he is getting himself and the puck in spots where bounces are more likely to go his way. Also, while JVR's goal that made it 2-0 was unassisted, Nicolas Aube-Kubel did some very good forechecking work behind the net.Video: PHI@OTT: van Riemsdyk banks home puck off defender

* The Flyers were fortunate to get out of the second period tied at 3-3. The Borowiecki goal that made it 2-2 very shortly after Ottawa got on the board was a bothersome one. Too many Flyers were spectators on that shift.

* No luck was necessary on JVR's second goal; a nice shift and finish one-on-one with Högberg as the Flyers retook the lead at 4-3. Aube-Kubel did get an assist for this one. It was his alley-oop flip of the puck that sprung van Riemdsyk.

* The Flyers had a gift-wrapped chance to win the game in regulation, as Ottawa's issues with having too many men on the ice -- a season-long problem in general, and in particular in this game -- struck again. The Flyers first unit got set up but couldn't generate a scoring chance and the second unit never got set up at all.

* The Flyers earned their 20th win of the season in their 36th game... They did not win their 20th game until Jan. 28 in their 49th game.

* The Flyers and Sens combined for 32 shots in the first period with one goal... Then combined for just 16 shots in the second period with five goals scored.

* James van Riemsdyk scored a pair of goals for the second straight game... He now has six goals in his last five games and seven goals and 10 points in nine games in December.

* Kevin Hayes recorded a goal, giving him five points (1g-4a) in his last four games. Video: PHI@OTT: Hayes slips puck past Hogberg for PPG

* Tyler Pitlick has points in two straight games... and has recorded a point in all three games of the season series against the Senators this season (1g-2a).

* Defenseman Matt Niskanen missed his first game as a Flyer - he was out due to the flu... Ivan Provorov led the team in ice time (26:59)... Claude Giroux led in shots (5)... Nicolas Aube-Kubel led in hits (6) and blocked shots (3).

* The Flyers play their final game before they break for the holiday when they host the NY Rangers for the first time this season. Puck drop is 7 p.m. on NBCSP or listen live on 93.3 WMMR.

Video: Hear from Flyers coach following win over OTTVideo: Hear from van Riemsdyk, Couturier and Elliott

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