The Flyers extended their winning streak to 4 games tonight as they dominated the Ottawa Senators 6-2.
The scoring started early with a pair of goals from Danny Briere and Mike Richards in the first 4 1/2 minutes. Richards' second goal on the night extended the Flyers lead to three, but another collapse from the Flyers allowed Ottawa right back into the game. A Milan Michalek short-handed breakaway goal and a Nick Foligno strike late in the second cut the lead to one entering the third period. Three goals in the third put the game away for Philly as the game ended with numerous fights.
The home team started the scoring early again tonight, scoring the first goal just seconds after the 2 minute mark. Briere skated along the boards after receiving a pass from Andrej Meszaros and planted a shot past Brian Elliott with a slapshot as he was gliding into the top-right part of the right circle. The goal was Briere's 25th on the season.
A little over two minutes later the Flyers would see their lead double as Richards stashed his 16th of the season with a nice tip-in of a Braydon Coburn shot. The other interesting note from the period was the only penalty, which was awarded to Chris Pronger -- back after a 13-game absence from a busted right foot -- for tripping up Zack Smith. The rest of the first period uneventfully passed as the Flyers entered the middle stanza with a two goal advantage.
The second period started with some pressure from Ottawa followed up by an extended 5-0n-3 for the Senators. After James van Riemsdyk tried to scoot around Sergei Gonchar, he was assessed a tripping penalty as Gonchar embellished a nudge to the back. Nineteen seconds later, Darroll Powe joined van Riemsdyk in the box with a high-sticking call against Erik Karlsson.
Philly ended up killing off the penalites and provided an offensive chance of their own when Richards took the puck down the ice along the boards and in on net.
The end of the 2nd period saw a flurry of goals. Claude Giroux drew two penalties 53 seconds apart to give Philly a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity of their own.
Seven seconds later, Richards handled the puck backing into the corner and, while faking a pass into the slot, turned slightly and released a quick shot on an unsuspecting Elliott who let the puck in through his legs. The goal was Richards' second of the night and extended the lead to 3-0.
Once again, though, the Orange and Black showed their brief defensive hiccups. The comfortable lead lasted all of a little more than 1 1/2 minutes as Michalek skated in on Sergei Bobrovsky, putting the breakaway opportunity home and making the score 3-1 with two minutes left in the period.
With 45 seconds left in the period, Foligno stood at the top of the crease and slammed home a rebound with no obstruction from Philly's defense for his 8th goal of the year. The period ended with Jeff Carter being dumped into Bobrovsky with a check from Chris Kelly.
Unable to build off the momentum from the period before, Ottawa saw the game slip away from them midway through the third period. Thanks to a Filip Kuba turnover behind the net, Briere picked up the puck and worked left to right behind the net eventually throwing a pass cross crease setting up Hartnell who pounded away at a couple rebounds eventually netting his 16th of the season.
Then, it was 5-2 as a Richards shot from the right wing created an easy rebound for van Riemsdyk who hit a wide open net.
Due to their newly-acquired deficit, Ottawa entered freak-out mode starting a line brawl after Claude Giroux showed some rare fire and laid out a Senator. Chris Neil and Darroll Powe received double-minors for roughing while Carter and Jesse Winchester would receive five-minute majors for fighting.
The physical play didn't help Ottawa as Meszaros scored 22 seconds after the penalties were assessed. Meszaros caught Elliott out of position and slapped home his 3rd goal of the year, second in as many games.
With the game clearly in Philadelphia's favor, the fighting was just getting started. After getting dumped into the corner, Briere skated into the slot and ended up getting his jersey grabbed by Shannon in an attempt to start a fight. Briere declined because he's Danny Briere and doesn't fight. Just 90 seconds later, Giroux handled himself fine in a fight against Foligno as both would exchange punches and Giroux would end it with a takedown.
The last hoorah involved a line brawl with fights between Shelley and Neil, Hartnell and Jarkko Ruutu, and Matt Carkner with Sean O'Donnell. Shelley and Neil fought to a draw despite Shelley's size advantage. Hartnell would kill Ruutu with several punches early while Carkner landed a few on O'Donnell who fell to the ice and covered up. As the penalty box filled and the time ran out, Philly enjoyed a 6-2 win.
Something that's turning into a habit for the Flyers is allowing teams right back into games they're dominating. On Sunday, Philly gave up two goals to the Rangers to make it a one goal game, on Tuesday Washington scored two goals in under a minute to tie up the game, and tonight the Senators got right back into the game with two goals late in the 2nd.
It seemed like a problem that was occurring due to Pronger's absence, but since this was Pronger's first game back tonight there must be something else wrong with the team. Whatever it is, the club's depth and resilience is making up for any mistakes.
Notes: The Flyers have outscored Ottawa 11-3 this season in 2 games. This was Carter's and Giroux's first fights of the year...Ruutu was the only Senator who was a plus on the night with a +1...Carter was the only Flyer in the negative at -1. Blair Betts was 7/7 on faceoffs tonight...Neil had a game high 19 penalty minutes for Ottawa, which racked up 69 of the game's 126 PIMs.