NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, April 11th
(All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (19-14-6) at Philadelphia Flyers (17-19-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators have seen their playoff chances take a
hit thanks to a recent losing streak.
The sliding Sens will try to halt a five-game funk and get their postseason
quest back on the right track when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for
Thursday's test at Wells Fargo Center.
The 0-5-0 losing streak has hurt Ottawa's postseason chances and the club
enters Thursday's action tied with the New York clubs for the last three
playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers, Islanders and Senators
each have 44 points on the year, but Ottawa has a game in hand over the other
The Rangers are off on Thursday, while the Islanders are playing in Boston.
Three of the Senators' five losses during the skid have come by one-goal
margins, including Tuesday's 3-2 loss in Tampa. Steven Stamkos scored the
game-winning goal with 5:04 left in the final period to lift the Lightning to
the close victory.
A Sergei Gonchar penalty put the Lightning on the power play with 5:20 left.
Tampa Bay got the puck into the Ottawa zone. Martin St. Louis passed the disc
to Vincent Lecavalier to the right of the goal. Stamkos darted to the net and
pounded home a feed from Lecavalier. The Lightning went 2-for-7 on the power
play in Tuesday's win.
Daniel Alfredsson and Guillaume Latendresse both lit the lamp for Ottawa,
which is mired in the club's longest skid since it went 0-6-1 from Jan. 21-Feb
"The penalties are the penalties," Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean said. "They
were penalties. This time of year, you have to take hits to make plays and you
have to expect that you're going to get hit and you can't just retaliate and
take penalties. That puts your team in a bad spot. A number of the penalties
we took tonight we didn't have to."
Craig Anderson made 21 saves in the setback and fell to 0-2 since returning
from an ankle injury.
The loss in Tampa dropped Ottawa to 0-4 on season-long seven-game road trip.
The Sens are just 6-11-3 as the guest this season compared to a 13-3-3 mark at
While the Sens' recent skid has damaged their postseason chances, Ottawa's
playoff prospects are still much rosier than Philadelphia's. The Flyers are
12th in the East and seven points out of the conference's final playoff spot
with just nine games left in the regular season.
Philadelphia has lost two straight in regulation on the heels of a season-best
four-game winning streak. Both setbacks have come by identical 4-1 scores and
the latest loss was Tuesday's defeat to the New York Islanders.
John Tavares and Casey Cizikas scored 28 seconds apart late in regulation to
help the Islanders down Philadelphia, 4-1, at Nassau Coliseum. It was the
Flyers' first loss on Long Island since a 6-4 setback on April 1, 2010.
Philadelphia had won seven straight at the Coliseum before Tuesday's setback.
Jakub Voracek's first-period strike was the sole offense for the Flyers.
Meanwhile, Steve Mason's first Philadelphia start didn't go as planned,
despite the former Columbus netminder stopping 28 pucks. Ilya Bryzgalov is
expected to get the start on Thursday.
"It's frustrating," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "You can't just expect
to score one goal and win a game. You got to continue to push it. Mason played
great for us. He was really solid back there."
The Flyers could get forward Danny Briere back from a concussion on Thursday
after he sat out the last nine games. Briere, who has a disappointing five
goals and eight assists in 26 games this season, is questionable for this
In other injury news, Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will likely miss the
rest of the season with a concussion. Grossmann, who hasn't played since March
18, will miss another 2-to-3 weeks of action, according to general manager
Paul Holmgren. In addition to Grossmann, the Flyers will also be without
injured defensemen Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros and Marc-Andre Bourdon
Philadelphia does own a solid 12-5-2 record at home this season and will try
for a fourth straight win at Wells Fargo Center tonight.
The Flyers beat the Sens, 2-1, in regulation on March 2 in the only meeting
between the clubs this season. Philly has won three of five in the series
overall and Ottawa has dropped four of its past five in the City of Brotherly
04/11 10:44:55 ET