Sens one win from playoffs

Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky concedes a goal to the Senators in front of forward Colin...

Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky concedes a goal to the Senators in front of forward Colin Greening at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., March 31, 2012. (TIM SHAFFER/Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Daniel Alfredsson had to do the unthinkable Saturday night: Cheer for the Maple Leafs.

It worked.

“I always cheer for the Leafs,” quipped the Senators captain. “If they can help us that would be great. We said all along that we couldn’t count on anybody losing games behind us. If we win our games, we’ll be fine after 82 games.”

Now they only have to win one game to clinch a playoff spot after the Leafs did the Senators a favour by knocking off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Saturday night in Toronto.

The Senators can punch their ticket to the post-season by beating the Islanders on Long Island Sunday afternoon in a 3 p.m. start.

Ottawa didn’t do anything to hurt its playoff chances earlier Saturday with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

After blowing a 3-0 lead they built up in the first, centre Jason Spezza, who scored in regulation, also beat goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for the winner as the Senators extended their winning streak to three.

Craig Anderson made 36 saves. Winger Chris Neil and Alfredsson scored in regulation for the Senators, while Braydon Cobourn, Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds responded for the Flyers in a back-and-forth battle.

“We got up 3-0 and it’s probably not a 3-0 game because Andy made some pretty big saves,” said Spezza. “We just kind of got away from our game a little bit in the second period and they got some lucky ones.

“It was a pretty even hockey game. We came in here after the second and said, ‘That was a terrible period, but we’re still tied.’ We’d take that on the road in this building. We’re tied going into the third against a good club. We just wanted to come out with a win. We weren’t down, but we were upset we gave up the lead. We had to park it quick.”

Park it they did.

The Flyers got some breaks while scoring three times in the second to tie it.

Simmonds’ goal came on a bounce off his face. Couturier was awarded a goal after a review to see if the net was dislodged. Waived off by referees, officials in Toronto deemed it a good goal. Cobourn then tied up with under three minutes left in the period.

That’s why the Senators had to take some time to settle down.

It was stunning Sergei Bobrovsky was still in the Philly net after Neil, Alfredsson and Spezza all lit him up on 11 shots in the first 20 minutes.

The message after two from coach Paul MacLean was pretty simple: Settle down and get the job done.

“Our team did a good job being resilient, playing good and showing a little bit of character in the third,” said MacLean. “We got back on our heels way too much in the second, let them come at us and defended too much.

“We wanted to make sure that we didn’t just defend in the third, that we played to win. We had to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game. In order to do that, we had to establish our game. We had to play some in their end and not just in ours.”

Anderson, who made four huge stops on Philly’s Jaromir Jagr alone, said the Senators can learn from this experience.

“That’s a huge two points for us,” said Anderson. “We’ve got to work on our game. We got off to a three-goal lead and we’ve got to make sure we learn to play that way and keep a lead.

“There was a momentum swing we didn’t handle well. We regrouped after the second, played a solid third and that was the reason we got to the shootout. We got determined in the third, hard to play against. We got the three goal lead and we thought we were going to run away with this.”


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