PHILADELPHIA – Suddenly the Ottawa Senators are starting to feel good about themselves.
Dany Heatley scored two unusual goals, Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist, and Brian Elliott made 34 saves to help the Senators win their season-high third straight game, 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
“We’ve beaten two pretty good teams the last couple of days,” Heatley said. “We are feeling good about ourselves.”
Nick Foligno and Antoine Vermette also scored for the Senators, who still trail Florida by 14 points for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Ottawa has 29 games remaining, one more than the Panthers.
Are the Senators daring to think about the playoffs?
“It’s definitely not out of the question,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, who picked up an assist and leads the Senators with 49 points. “It’s possible. We won the first two games of this road trip. Who knows? We just can’t look too far ahead.”
Darroll Powe and Mike Richards scored for Philadelphia.
Elliott made 13 saves in the second period, stopping a Mike Knuble deflection a Claude Giroux breakaway to go along with a brilliant glove save on Joffrey Lupul.
“Our goaltender was the best player on the ice tonight,” said Ottawa coach Cory Clouston, 3-1-1 since replacing the fired Craig Hartsburg.
“We’ve played very well on defence the last three or four games. The offence has struggled but tonight the goals came naturally.”
It was Elliott’s third straight impressive performance. He beat Buffalo 3-2 and 3-1 in his previous two starts, stopping the Sabres on 11 of 12 power plays Wednesday night in Buffalo. The Flyers failed on three power plays Thursday.
“Their goalie was great and I didn’t have my best night,” Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki said. “I think that was the difference.”
Heatley was credited with Ottawa’s first goal after his shot hit the right post, then bounced off Niittymaki and Flyers winger Scott Hartnell and into the net with 1:38 left in the first period.
Spezza made it 2-0 with his 21st goal on a power play at 8:40 of the second. He deflected Brenden Bell’s shot with his skate while standing to the left of the net.
Foligno scored with 14 seconds left in the period, taking a pass from Ryan Shannon and ripping a backhander past Niittymaki.
“It was kind of a weird night for us,” Lupul said. “It seemed like we had a lot of chances. They got that goal right at the end of the second period. It was a killer for us.”
Philadelphia cut it to 3-1 when Powe put in a rebound at 8:00 of the third period.
Heatley scored his second goal, and 24th of the season, at 10:15 when his shot hit the crossbar and bounced straight down into the goal.
“I heard it but I didn’t see it,” he explained.
Richards made it 4-2 with a wrist shot 39 seconds later, but Vermette put the game out of reach with an unassisted goal at 15:20 after stealing the puck from Jeff Carter.
It was the first time since November 8 that the Flyers dropped back-to-back home games in regulation. Philadelphia lost to 3-1 to on Feb. 4.
Notes: Flyers C Richards and LW Scottie Upshall returned after missing three games because of the flu. … Ottawa played the second of five consecutive road games that also will take the Senators to Minnesota, Nashville and Colorado. … Ottawa D Alexandre Picard (upper body) missed his fifth straight game. … Spezza (three goals, 2 assists) and Bell (five assists) extended their points streaks to four games.