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Flyers win, get to .500 for first time this season

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Now that the Philadelphia Flyers are finally even, they can start their playoff push.

Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds scored goals, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 33 shots and the Flyers beat Ottawa, 2-1, on Saturday to even their record and snap the Senators' six-game unbeaten streak.

The Flyers (11-11-1) have the same amount of wins and losses for the first time this season. They went 3-2 on a five-game homestand and finished with consecutive victories.

"We've been fighting to get to .500 for a long time and we can't stop now," Simmonds said. "We just have to keep going ahead. I think (close) games we have to get comfortable with, especially trying to make a playoff push and all.

"I think a lot of games going down to the back half of the season are going to be like that. So, obviously we need to get comfortable in games like that."

Marc Methot had the goal for Ottawa (12-7-3), which had been 5-0-1 since their last regulation loss on Feb. 16, 3-0 to Toronto.

"We can just put this one behind us and you know, we're playing in roughly 24 hours from now again," Methot said. "It's an opportunity for us to get back up on our feet and keep going. It'd be nice to finish off this trip here tomorrow with two points."

Voracek scored his ninth goal 7:24 into the second period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Luke Schenn cleared the puck from Philadelphia's zone. Voracek beat Eric Gryba to it near the blue line, cut across the ice, went around another defender and wristed a shot past Ben Bishop.

Four minutes later, Simmonds made it 2-0 with his ninth goal to tie Voracek for the team lead. Simmonds took a crossing pass from Brayden Schenn on a break, skated in on Bishop and slipped a backhander into the net.

Methot scored his first goal to snap a 51-game drought and cut it 2-1 later in the second period. Seconds before Methot's goal, Bryzgalov stopped Colin Greening on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box.

However, Methot blasted a shot from the point under Bryzgalov's glove, leaving the goalie muttering to himself.

Making his 21st start in 23 games, Bryzgalov had an outstanding first period, stopping 14 shots to keep it scoreless.

"It was a really tough game," said Bryzgalov, who earned his 200th NHL win. "It was exciting hockey. Both teams played passionate. Both teams had lots of chances to score. It was fun to watch."

The Flyers are eighth in the Eastern Conference almost halfway through the lockout-shortened 48-game schedule. They've played 23 games, more than any team in the league.

"Hopefully it gives us a little boost," captain Claude Giroux said. "We want to get going here. There aren't a lot of games left. It's halfway through the season.

"Tonight was a big win for us. Ottawa has been playing very well lately so now we just have to focus on the next game."

Philadelphia's Harry Zolnierczyk received a five-minute major for charging Mike Lundin midway through the first and was ejected. The Flyers killed off the penalty, getting two minutes of relief when the Senators were called for having too many men on the ice during their power play.

Lundin didn't return to the ice.

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson got a game misconduct and five minutes for cross checking with 7:01 left in the game. A high-sticking call on Erik Condra a few minutes later gave Philadelphia a two-man advantage.

But Bishop made several saves to keep the score 2-1.

"We need to score goals," Senators forward Kaspars Daugavins said. "We were down one goal with like 10 minutes left and then we played shorthanded for like four or five minutes in a row, so that doesn't help either.

"We had our chances. We just need to focus a little more to score."

The Senators have the best home record in the Eastern Conference at 9-1-2, but they're 3-6-1 on the road. Ottawa is 5-2-1 since losing star defenseman Erik Karlsson for the season because of an Achilles' tendon injury.

NOTES: Senators goalie Craig Anderson missed his fourth consecutive game because of an ankle injury. ... Injured Senators Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek combined for 222 points last year. ... Veteran Flyers forward Mike Knuble was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... Wayne Simmonds has five goals in his last seven games.
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