PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers 6, Senators 3
Ray Emery's bubble burst in a big way last night.
Emery got an early seat in the Flyer's 6-3 romp over the Senators at the Wachovia Center. Goals by Brian Pothier, Dany Heatley and Antoine Vermette's league-leading sixth shorthanded goal helped the Senators set a franchise record for most goals in a season (277), but there wasn't much to celebrate.
After Emery gave up his fourth goal on 14 shots only 8:33 into the first, it was no surprise that coach Bryan Murray gave him the hook.
"I'm really disappointed with the way we started," said Murray. "They jumped all over us and we just weren't ready for it. It just seemed like everything they touched ended up in our net."
Goalie Mike Morrison made his debut as Ottawa had one of its worst performances of the year.
"They were just better than us," said Emery. "They came out hard and I don't imagine they've come out like that all year, and we just weren't able to handle it. They jumped on every rebound we gave up and it was just a tough night against them."
Coming off an emotional 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres less than 24 hours earlier at HSBC Arena, the Senators looked like a team that wasn't ready.
Coach Ken Hitchcock reminded the Flyers that they had to set the tone against the No. 1 team in the East.
"They're not just another tough opponent," said Hitchcock before the game. "They're the big dog."
But Hitchcock probably couldn't have predicted the Senators would look so bad. They're a different team without Zdeno Chara and they struggled to get anything going.
Murray decided he had to yank Emery after Michal Handzus scored from a bad angle to open up a 4-0 lead for the Flyers.
"I didn't want him to give up five or six. We've got a lot of big games ahead," said Murray.
That's the first time this season the Senators have pulled the starting goalie out of necessity. The only other change in net was Dec. 2 when Murray decided to take Dominik Hasek out of a game that was getting rough against Los Angeles.
Before Handzus' effort, Petr Nedved, Nicholas Dimitrakos and Jeff Carter scored for the Flyers. Donald Brashear and Peter Forsberg added goals in the third to seal Ottawa's fate.
Pothier scored a nifty power play goal to break Antero Niittymaki's bid for a shutout at 11:23 of the second, but the Senators couldn't get back into this one.
"We can learn a lesson from that, there's no question about it," said centre Jason Spezza.
"Bryan Murray had warned us about coming out ready to play and we weren't ready to get the job done. That's disappointing."
It didn't help that a goal by Chris Kelly at 19:01 of the second wasn't counted after tough guy Brian McGrattan took an interference penalty.
McGrattan tried to get the troops fired up by having a good tussle with Flyers heavyweight Donald Brashear, but even a heavyweight tilt couldn't change this result.