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Post-game report: Philadelphia 6 Ottawa 3

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Flyers scored four goals in the first period and Antero Niittymaki made the early spurt stand up with 33 saves to lead Philadelphia to a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

Petr Nedved, Niko Dimitrakos, Jeff Carter and Michal Handzus each scored in the first period to chase goalie Ray Emery and lead the Flyers to their fourth straight victory.

While catching the Eastern Conference-leading Senators in the standings seems out of reach, Philadelphia has helped its playoff push with wins over New Jersey and the New York Rangers this week.

Ottawa, which snapped a four-game winning streak, might hope to somehow avoid the Flyers in the postseason. The Flyers finished 3-1 this season against the Senators, the first time since 1997-98 they won three games against Ottawa.

Peter Forsberg added a power-play goal, and Donald Brashear scored his fourth of the season in the third period for the Flyers, who have won five of six.

Emery had been sharp for the Senators since taking over the starting duties in place of Dominik Hasek, who continues to nurse a groin injury sustained during the Turin Olympics. He was stunned early by a Flyers team that also scored six goals Wednesday against the Rangers.

Nedved scored his sixth goal of the season only 35 seconds after the opening faceoff and Dimitrakos quickly followed with his seventh goal 2 minutes in for the Flyers.

Carter swiped the puck away from Brian Pothier near the net and scored his 19th goal. After Handzus sneaked around the back of the net and knocked one in from the left side, it was 4-0 and that was all for Emery.

Emery allowed four goals on 14 shots in only 8 1/2 minutes. Michael Morrison was solid from there, stopping 29 shots. Forsberg beat Morrison early in the third with his 19th goal to make it 5-1.

Pothier's slap shot from the right circle midway through the second period for a power-play goal was all the Senators got until the third when Dany Heatley's 40th goal and Antoine Vermette's 20th made it 6-3.

Niittymaki continued to make his case that he should be the Flyers postseason goalie. Coach Ken Hitchcock hasn't decided if he'll start the rookie Niittymaki or Robert Esche in the playoffs.

Niittymaki, only the fifth first-year goalie in team history to reach 20 wins, has been outstanding lately. He's won three of four on this winning streak.

Notes: The Flyers (40-21-10) reached the 40-win mark for the sixth straight season and ninth time in 10 seasons. ... The Senators are 11-2-1 in March. ... Forsberg has a point in 40 of 54 games this season.

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