OTTAWA – When the Ottawa Senators look back at their miserable season, compounding the Philadelphia Flyers’ woes in the Nation’s Capital will be one of the positives.
Jason Spezza scored once and added three assists Tuesday as the Senators beat the slumping Flyers 5-2. Philadelphia hasn’t won in seven trips to Ottawa and has just one victory in the last 11 visits.
“I think this is going to be one of the games that guys think about over the summer,” Senators right-winger Ryan Shannon said. “They’re going to be a good playoff team and showing that we can hang with a team like that is a good feeling.”
If Philadelphia’s form continues, the 2010 Stanley Cup runner-up may not be in the post-season for long.
The Flyers gave up three power-play goals in dropping their fourth straight game. Philadelphia has just two wins in nine contests and the team’s play down the stretch is cause for concern.
“It’s not good enough at all, by any stretch,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, whose club slipped out of top spot in the Eastern Conference and fell two points behind Washington after the Capitals beat Toronto in shootout.
“It was a big game for us and pretty much the whole team came out flat and didn’t really help our goalie,” Flyers right-winger Claude Giroux added. “We’ve got two games left and I don’t think you can turn on a switch when playoffs come, so I think the next two games are going to be huge.
“If we play like that in the playoffs, we’ll be in trouble.”
Spezza scored his 20th goal of the season on the power play and added three assists and the Senators went 3-for-5 with the man advantage before an announced crowd of 18,397 at Scotiabank Place.
The playoffs have long been forgotten by the Senators (31-39-10), but they continued their improved play in the second half of the season with their fourth in the past five at home.
“They’re probably the best team in the East and it’s a big challenge for us,” Spezza said. “I think the game probably means more to us than it does to them and these are important games for us to gain confidence. I think we accomplished that tonight and it feels good to get the win.”
Shannon and Bobby Butler had a goal and an assist, while Nick Foligno and Milan Michalek, into an empty net, rounded out the scoring for the Senators. Filip Kuba added two assists.
Butler scored at even strength on a breakaway late in the second period to give the Senators a 3-2 lead.
Craig Anderson made 27 saves.
Mike Richards scored both goals on the power play for Philadelphia (46-23-11), which failed to clinch the Atlantic Division title with the loss and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Kimmo Timonen assisted on both of the Flyers’ goals and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots.
Already missing defenceman Chris Pronger (hand surgery), Philadelphia played without centre Daniel Briere for the second straight game because of a lower-body injury.
Scotiabank Place has not been kind to the Flyers, with Philadelphia’s last victory in the building coming Nov. 24, 2007.
“We know the team we’ve got in here is a good team, we’re not worried about that,” Flyers winger Kris Versteeg said. “We’ve just got to find ways to win and change that Friday (at Buffalo) and get on to a roll and make good plays, plays we know we can make, going into the playoffs.”
The Flyers led 1-0 after Richards picked up his own rebound off a blocked shot and wired the puck past Anderson at 3:40 of the first.
Foligno redirected a pass from Spezza by Bobrovsky on an Ottawa power play at 15:37 to tie it.
In the second, Richards took a pass from Nikolai Zherdev in the slot and beat Anderson with his 23rd goal of the season at 15:56, but the lead was short-lived as Shannon answered less than 2 1/2 minutes later with a shot from the point through traffic.
Butler converted his breakaway chance with 13.6 seconds to go in the period.
Spezza provided some breathing room when he fired a bullet over Bobrovsky’s shoulder from the top of the faceoff circle at 8:02 of the third and Michalek scored into an empty net.
Notes:The Senators recalled forward Roman Wick and defencemen Andre Benoit and Patrick Wiercioch from Binghamton of the AHL for the game. … Ottawa wraps up its home schedule Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. … Foligno has declined USA Hockey’s invitation to join its team for the upcoming world championship in Slovakia. .. After the game, the Senators gave their shirts away to randomly-drawn season-ticket holders. … The Flyers placed goaltender Michael Leighton on re-entry waivers Tuesday. … Flyers centre Blair Betts sat out the game with a lower-body injury suffered Sunday against the New York Rangers. He’s listed as day-to-day. … The Flyers don’t play again until Friday, when they visit the Buffalo Sabres.