Game Summary - Game 18: Senators vs. Flyers - Orange is the New . . . Crap
by Chet Sellers
I don't know what it is about the Flyers, man. I don't know if it's their aggressive, hunting-jacket orange uniforms, their rich tradition of goonery, or their amoral, sociopathic fanbase that seems to confuse hockey with blood sacrifice, but there's something about playing the Flyers that just seems to get the Ottawa Senators all riled up.
There's the 2004 brawl, obviously, in which Jason Spezza's team-record 35 penalty minutes finally closed the door on his baby modelling career for good, and more recently, this royal rumble from 2011. Heck, even last year, this happened:
|Harry Zolniercyk concusses Mike Lundin. Peter Regin was uninjured on the play.|
So I guess you could say Flyers games tend to get a little chippy. The other thing that could spur a physical game from the Flyers is the fact that the Flyers are terrible, and they and their struggling captain Claude Giroux are under a lot of pressure to turn things around. Will they get tough and look to capitalize against a Senators team for whom cockiness might be setting in during an undefeated homestand? Not if this guy has anything to say about it:
|"Oh Andy, you came and you stopped them from scoring, and this doesn't quite rhyme, I'm sorry."|
|Is Chris Phillips the glue that holds the Senators D together? Let's find out!|
The Flyers spend most of the first five minutes in the Senators' zone, but none of their early shot attempts test Anderson seriously. Eventually the Senators are able to develop some offensive pressure and start to look like the better team, but aggressive Flyers checking makes it hard for the Senators to take their time with the puck and set up plays. This ends the serious analysis portion of the recap.
We may be scoreless after ten minutes, but here we go - we've got our first shove after the whistle! It's Luke Schenn on Zack Smith during a Senators power play that doesn't go anywhere. "Remember Toronto?" says Schenn. "It used to be like this, always." "I'm just not good at the distance thing," responds Smith, begging off a fight. But five minutes later, Braydon Coburn drops Erik Karlsson in front of the net! Things are getting physical!
No they're not. Matt Read scores off a wraparound with three to go, and all of a sudden the Senators are down 1-0. Worse still, the goal seems to give the Flyers momentum and they spend the rest of the first period putting quality shots on Anderson, who makes a series of increasingly-athletic saves to keep the Senators in the game. Surely the Senators are going to regroup during the intermission, make some adjustments, and come out fighting to prevent this from happening again, right?
|Even a wraparound isn't an individual accomplishment. It's a team effort.|
In the first minute of the second period, the Senators gives up another wraparound, this time to Jakub Voracek. So it's that kind of game. Looks like we're gonna need a fight to turn this one around . . . right?
|"For the last time, we're not running the Flying V." (GIF courtesy The Score)|
The Senators come rushing back after the goal, but Colin Greening misses a chance to bury an easy open-netter. In the press box, Erik Condra sheds a single tear, shouting, "You're my boy, Green!" as he misses his wide-open mouth with a nacho.
Ten minutes in, Mark Borowiecki draws an interference penalty and Voracek makes it 3-0 Flyers on the first non-wraparound goal of the night, in this case a top-shelf wrister from a beautiful Wayne Simmonds centering pass. The Senators respond by playing with less energy, and amazingly, Craig Anderson keeps them in the game to end the second. Anderson is probably the better goalie through two, even though he's given up three goals on 20 shots to Steve Mason's shutout on 18. This is all part of Philadelphia's plan to sucker the Senators into a line brawl, right?
Hockey is played and eight minutes in a Marc Methot centering pass goes right to Vincent Lecavalier, who puts it five-hole on Anderson to make it 4-0 Flyers, and it's all over but the crying. Folks, we're just going to spend the rest of this recap exploring the space a little bit.
Where do the Flyers rank on the Senators' all-time rivals list, anyway? Despite the history of violence, I don't think they're top five - I've got the Leafs, Habs, Sabres, Bruins, and Penguins ahead of them. What's with the orange, anyway? They look like a bunch of goony Dutch speed skaters. Hey, why do they call them Flyers, anyway? They're just skating! Am I right, folks?
|Wry observational comedy + indifferent defensive play = $$$|
At some point a Brayden Schenn power play goal makes it 5-0, and Paul Maclean loses his glasses. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! Wait, the game is over. Huh.
The Senators played a lousy, low-energy game, and tonight they weren't bailed out by their goaltending. That`s not to say it's Anderson's fault - it probably would have been 10-0 without some solid saves on his part - but he didn't play well enough to quiet the Robin Lehner crowd, or people who don't really care if the Senators have a second valuable goaltender that can later be exchanged for goods and services. You know what? Craig Anderson is still my Senators star of the game, even if he's going to go to bed tonight haunted by those wraparounds . . .
|"Oh God, it's closing in on me! NOOOOOOO . . . mmm, queso."|