NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, January 3rd
(All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (19-18-3) at Ottawa Senators (21-16-4), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Flyers' current road trip has brought them four wins as
well as a memorable contest in the annual Winter Classic. However, after
taking a tough loss on New Year's Day, they also hope it can bring them one
Philadelphia concludes a six-game swing today versus the Ottawa Senators at
Scotiabank Place, where the Flyers have lost their last three trips.
The Flyers had dropped four straight and 14 of their last 17 prior to
beginning their road trip. They then proceeded to win four games in a row for
the first time since a five-game run from October 31-November 12, but that
string of victories came to an end at Fenway Park versus Boston on Friday.
Skating at the historic baseball park, Philadelphia suffered a 2-1 overtime
setback after the Bruins' Marco Sturm scored on Michael Leighton 1:57 into
Danny Syvret scored his first NHL goal in his 44th career contest, while
Leighton ended with 24 saves for a Flyers club that is two points out of a
playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I started getting a little nervous [Thursday] night," said Leighton. "You
don't realize how big of a deal it is until you get here and play the game.
The ice was a little chippy and there were some bad bounces but it was a great
Leighton was making his fifth straight start in place of Brian Boucher, who
had been taking over the majority of the duties in net with former Ottawa
netminder Ray Emery out due to abdominal surgery. However, Boucher has been
unable to play due to a lacerated finger.
There is a chance Boucher could return today and he is 1-5-0 with a tie and
3.13 goals-against average versus the Senators. Leighton is 1-1-0 with a 3.03
GAA against them.
The Flyers will try to halt a three-game slide in Ottawa, where they haven't
won since November 24, 2007. The clubs have split two meetings this year in
The Senators won the most recent meeting on December 10 by a 2-0 margin. Brian
Elliott made 23 saves in his first shutout of the season, but he has since
moved back into a reserve role with Pascal Leclaire having returned from a
Leclaire made his fifth straight start on Thursday, helping his team to a 3-2
shootout victory against the Islanders. He allowed New York's first two
skaters to score, but turned aside John Tavares in the third round to clinch
Ryan Shannon, Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher, meanwhile, all scored in the
shootout, while Chris Kelly and Peter Regin scored in regulation. Leclaire
made 25 saves in Ottawa's third win in four games.
"We have to play good defensively like we did tonight," said Fisher. "It may
not be pretty, but as long as we get it done."
Ottawa, sixth in the East with 46 points, improved to 2-1-0 on a five-game
homestand and 15-6-3 overall as the host.
Leclaire is 0-2-0 with a 4.05 GAA versus the Flyers, allowing five goals the
last time he faced them, while Elliott is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA against them.
01/03 12:02:50 ET