NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Ottawa
(Saturday, February 11th)
Final Score: Ottawa 3, Philadelphia 2
Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Dany Heatley netted his first goal in five games and Dominik Hasek turned aside 29 shots as Ottawa cruised into the Olympic break with 3-2 victory over Philadelphia at Scotiabank Place.
Antoine Vermette and Vaclav Varada also scored for the Senators, who won for just the second time in their last five games. Jason Spezza added an assist in the win.
"Finally we won a close game, it's a great feeling," said Hasek. "However, it was frustrating because we gave up two goals sort of on two lucky bounces and then all of a sudden the game was so close."
Ottawa will head into the break in first place in the Northeast Division and will attempt to hold off Buffalo once the season starts up again in the end of February.
Simon Gagne and Donald Brashear scored for the Flyers, who will use the break to both heal up and try to get back in the win column. Philadelphia has lost four of its last six games.
The Flyers have been without many of their key players during their latest losing stretch. The team is without centers Peter Forsberg, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau, forward Branko Radivojevic and defensemen Chris Therien, Mike Rathje and Kim Johnsson. All, with the exception of Primeau, could return after the break.
Robert Esche allowed two goals on 13 shots faced before being pulled in the opening frame. Antero Niittymaki made 21 saves in relief for the Flyers.
"It was more of a wakeup call when I pulled Esche because we needed to get something changed," said Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We were on our heels and it certainly was not a reflection of Esche because he has played fine and we needed something to wake everyone up a bit. Nitty came in and did a great job for us."
Ottawa dominated the first period, outshooting Philadelphia 14-7 while taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Vermette's 12th goal of the season staked the Senators to a 1-0 lead after he stuffed the puck around the right post and past Esche 8:58 into the first frame.
The Senators jumped to a two-goal edge at 13:15 of the stanza after Chris Neil sent a pass from the slot to the left circle. Varada was on the receiving end and his ensuing shot beat Esche.
The goal chased Esche from the game.
Ottawa did not slow down to start the second frame as Heatley lit the lamp just 19 seconds into the period for his 34th tally of the season.
The Flyers finally cracked the scoreboard with 6:14 remaining in the second. Randy Jones held the puck along the right wall and the defenseman sent the disc airborne towards the slot. Gagne was there to redirect the puck and it snuck through Hasek's five hole.
Philadelphia then cut it to a one-goal deficit on Brashear's third goal of the season. Eric Desjardins pounced on a loose puck in the right circle and the defenseman ripped a shot that hit off Brashear, who was in front of the net, and into the cage with 3:08 left in the second.
Hasek and the Ottawa defense refused to let the game slip away however. Hasek turned aside 12 shots in the final frame and kept the Flyers out of the net in the last minute after Niittymaki went to the bench in favor of the extra attacker.
Both teams finished 0-for-3 on the power play. Ottawa is now 0-for-14 on the man advantage in its last three games...Forsberg sat out his eighth straight game with a groin injury. He has yet to say if he will compete for Sweden in the 2006 Winter Games...Spezza's assist was his 45th of the season...Flyers rookie center Mike Richards celebrated his 21st birthday with an assist. He has three goals and two assists in his last three games.
02/11 23:41:43 ET