OTTAWA – Jason Spezza always believed he could score in the shootout and on Monday he was finally able to prove it.
Spezza scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
This was Ottawa’s first shootout win of the season after losing their four previous attempts.
“I’d been good in the shootout historically,” said Spezza. “You take pride in that stuff and especially when you’re losing games. There was definitely a little extra fist pump and it felt good.”
Spezza wasn’t the only one feeling relief at winning in the shootout as Craig Anderson was clearly elated after stopping Sean Couturier to seal the win.
“It’s about time,” said Anderson, who made 25 saves. “I think we’ve been in this situation a few times and haven’t been on the right side of that and (Monday) we find a way to get two points and that’s really all that mattered. You’ve got to be excited about two points.”
Clarke MacArthur struck twice for the Senators (12-14-5) in regulation time. Patrick Wiercioch and Kyle Turris also scored for Ottawa.
Michael Raffl, Jakub Voracek, Luke Schenn and Kimmo Timonen scored for the Flyers (13-14-3). Steve Mason stopped 30 shots.
With the win the Senators put an end to a five-game losing streak on home ice.
“Home ice has been a struggle and we want to give the people something to cheer about,” said Spezza. “We’ve been frustrated with the fact we can’t win and it was nice to finally send the fans home happy.”
Turris gave the Senators a 4-3 lead with his first in eight games as he carried the puck from his own end, moved in along the side boards and fired a shot that went in off Luke Schenn at 8:21 of the third.
The lead was short lived as Timonen tied the game with his second of the season with a floater from just inside the blue-line.
Trailing 3-2, the Senators tied the game early in the third as a Bobby Ryan rebound went in off MacArthur for his second of the night.
“Anytime you go in the third period with a lead you want to keep it,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “You want to make sure everyone is accountable for what they do and they were able to get a couple of goals. We fought back and got a point, but it’s tough to lose in a shootout.”
MacArthur now has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his last ten games.
“(MacArthur’s) probably been our most consistent guy all year,” said Spezza. “Even at the start of the year when he wasn’t scoring you just knew it was a matter of time and now that he is he’s driving us offensively and doing a lot of great things. He’s been a heck of a pick-up.”
Ottawa got off to a better start in the second and was able to take the lead on a power-play goal. Ryan made a back pass to Wiercioch who scored on an open net to make it 2-1.
While the Senators will definitely take the two points they admit there remains a lot of room for improvement.
“It was good to get rewarded,” said MacArthur. “We’re still sloppy in some areas. We still can play better, we’ve still got to play harder if we want to win every night.”
The Flyers regained the lead with two goals in less than a two-minute span midway through the period.
Voracek tied the game on a power-play goal and shortly after that Luke Schenn made it 3-2 with a shot from the boards. Anderson, with traffic in front, never even reacted to the shot until he heard the crowd of 15,786.
Raffl, with his first NHL career goal, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at the eight-minute mark of the first.
“It’s nice to get the first goal, but it would be even nicer with the win,” said Raffl. “It’s kind of disappointing at the same time.”
Ottawa did manage to end the period tied 1-1. Spezza fed MacArthur who broke in alone on Mason and was able to get a stick on a bouncing puck to pick up his tenth of the season.
This was the final meeting between the two teams this season with the Flyers winning the series 2-1.
With three games in the next five nights the Senators see an opportunity to gain ground in the standings.
“This is a great week for us to get some points,” said MacArthur. “If we want to get back in the hunt you’ve got to string some games together so that’s what it comes down to.”
Notes: D Eric Gryba and C Mike Hoffman were healthy scratches for the Senators.…The Flyers were without C Vincent Lecavalier (back fracture, indefinitely). LW Tye McGinn was recalled from the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms and was a healthy scratch Monday as were D Erik Gustafsson and D Hal Gill.