Senators-Flyers Preview


After snapping out of their funk in impressive fashion, the Ottawa Senators are hoping a lengthy break and a visit to the Philadelphia Flyers won't slow down their momentum.

The Senators will try to boost their playoff hopes by earning a third straight win and ending a three-game losing streak at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon.

Ottawa (39-28-10) had the rare luxury of four days off late in the season, but there was some concern about staying sharp. While playing three games in four nights, the Senators managed to snap a three-game skid with an 8-4 win over Pittsburgh last Saturday then followed with a 6-4 victory in Winnipeg on Monday.

Ottawa had scored a combined two goals during its losing streak and nine during a 1-3-2 stretch.

"We've played some pretty good hockey, so we've got to continue that and make sure that we stay mentally focused this week and when the puck drops on Saturday we're ready to go," goaltender Craig Anderson said.

Coach Paul MacLean had his team play a simulated game Wednesday and said the rest is "a good opportunity for us if we use it wisely."

The Senators will try to take advantage of that opportunity while maintaining its hold on one of the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. They'll next face a Flyers team that's already secured its spot in the postseason but is trying to gain home-ice advantage for the opening round.

Philadelphia has helped itself with a 11-3-1 record this month and routed Toronto 7-1 on the road Thursday. Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds each had two goals during that victory, and Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr combined for seven assists.

While subbing for an injured Ilya Bryzgalov, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 16 shots to end a personal four-game skid.

Bryzgalov has a chip fracture in his right foot and might return this weekend. If he doesn't, the Flyers have confidence in Bobrovsky to help out.

"Bob's been a terrific soldier for us all year in waiting to get in there and play more games," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I know that we have a lot of faith in Bob."

Bryzgalov stopped 35 shots during a 3-2 overtime victory over the visiting Senators on Jan. 7, but gave up five goals on 37 shots during a 6-4 defeat in Ottawa the following day. He's 2-3-0 with a 3.66 goals-against average in six career matchups, his worst GAA against any opponent.

Bobrovsky is 3-1-0 with a 2.26 GAA in four meetings, and that disparity might have the Flyers willing to give Bryzgalov an extra day to recover. Anderson, the expected starter for Ottawa, is 2-1-0 with a 3.54 GAA since returning from a lacerated right hand and is 1-0-1 with a 3.64 GAA in his three games against Philadelphia this season.

Ottawa is 3-1-1 in the last five matchups with the Flyers but 2-6-1 over its last nine visits to Philadelphia. Briere added to those struggles with a hat trick that included the overtime winner during the game at Wells Fargo in January.

Rookie Matt Read, who is riding a three-game goal scoring streak, has a team-best six points against the Senators this season, and Ottawa's high-scoring defenseman Erik Karlsson has multipoint performances in all three matchups.

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