Going Goofy vs. Flyers

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:53 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- For much of the night, it appeared the Flyers had one final task on their to-do list before leaving town to make room for Disney On Ice.

They seemed intent on making the Senators look Goofy.

An Ottawa comeback in the second half saved some face, but came up short in a 4-3 loss to Philadelphia before 19,817 appreciative fans at Wachovia Center.

The defeat was the second in a three-game road trip that winds down in Long Island tonight, and it left the Senators just two points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Ottawa does have three games in hand on Buffalo.

"That's the way it is in this building," said Daniel Alfredsson, who will be the assistant captain on Team Sweden at the Olympics. "They're a good team. If you're not 100% ready, they'll have you chasing the puck. That's what happened."

Indeed.

Clumsiness, break downs and just plain bad ideas put the Senators in a 3-0 hole that extended to four deep before the Senators finally hit the scoreboard.

"We started very poorly and they came out flying in this building, as they usually do," said coach Bryan Murray, who suggested upgrades to his fourth line could be on the way. "We had enough chances, but we're not scoring on chances the way we were. We tried to do things you can't do against this hockey club."

Sparked by the return of Simon Gagne to the lineup, the Flyers could have been up by five or six at the intermission.

Gagne set up Mike Knuble and Sami Kapanen had another before R.J. Umberger provided a third, playing on a kid line that kept the Senators' hands full.

Ottawa fell behind 4-0 near the midway mark of the second on a goal by Gagne.

"We had a bad start and it cost us," said Wade Redden, whose team has now lost six of its last 10 games. "We haven't been going as good as we had been and that's definitely got to change."

Momentum did last night as Zdeno Chara and Antoine Vermette scored 1:20 apart in the second half of the second period. The Senators had chances to make it closer by the 40-minute mark, but couldn't.

"We had a better second period, but basically we had to work so hard for every goal and the bounces didn't go in," said Chara.

The Senators had a great opportunity to close the gap to one 4:30 into the third period, but Peter Schaefer was stoned on a clear breakaway by Antero Niittymaki.

Ottawa was presented three straight power plays after that, including one on a Derian Hatcher elbow to Mike Fisher's head that, although Flyers fans didn't like the call, could very well been for longer than two minutes.

The Flyers were successful killing the penalties, but Fisher did score with just over eight minutes left to give the Senators hope.

"When you look at a team like Ottawa, to me that's a good gauge on your team and individuals," said Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock. "They still have the heaviest team in battles and competitiveness."

Peter Forsberg liked what he saw, as well.

"Everybody came out and played well," said the star centre, whose team has now beat Ottawa twice in the same year for the first time in eight seasons.

"Not just one line, but all four."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com

Flyers 4

Senators 3 


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