It was a first period from hell for Senators Goaltender Ray Emery and his Ottawa Senator team mates. The Sens walked into a buzzsaw of Philadelphia Flyers and didn’t seem to catch their breath until the second period.
The Flyers took the play from the outset and stormed the Ottawa end of the rink, gaining a 4-0 advantage before Emery was allowed to rest for the night, sending former Oiler Mike Morrison into the breach of a Flyer assault. By the end of the night Morrison would surreder two more goals but the Sens would claw their way back half way with three of their own, but make no mistake this was an all Flyer win by a score of 6-3.
The first period however was all the Flyers would need as they controlled every aspect of this game and sent the Senators on to their next game with New Jersey with a bit of a bruise to their division leading egos.
In a rough and tumble affair, as is the norm with the Flyers and the Sens the absence of Senator Zdeno Chara proved to be a key ingredient in this one. Without the big rear guard to clear the front of the Sens net, the Flyers could set up shop and take advantage of rebounds and passes without too much fear of a reprimand.
The night featured the usual scraps that these teams seem to gravitate towards, the main event being a lengthy and vibrant battle between Brian McGratton and Donald Brashear. Chris Neil also gained some revenge on Denis Gauthier over a questionable hit earlier in the game.
For the Flyers it was a return to a more or less healthy line up (or at least as healthy as its going to get) and an announcement that they may wish to make some noise in the playoff rounds to come.
For the Sens, it was just a blip on what has been a rather extraordinary run of late. It was a bad game, for a tired team who had a long night in Buffalo the night before. Best for them to shake it off and prepare for the next game and then for the playoff rounds. A match up with the Flyers will be something many might wish to see, with the physical play and speed and scoring punch both teams have, it could be the marquee series of the post season. However, if it does happen it most likely wouldn’t be on tap until the later rounds.