Finally in Philly

The Sens stopped their season-high five-game losing slide with a much-needed victory on Thursday night.

Colin Greening celebrates his game-winning power-play goal in the third period Thursday night with Daniel Alfredsson. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.

PHILADELPHIA — The collective sigh of relief coming out of the Ottawa Senators’ dressing room Thursday could be heard halfway to Ottawa.
Colin Greening’s power-play goal with 5:36 remaining was the winner as the Senators pulled out a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, ending the Senators’ season-high five-game losing streak and finally gave them something positive from what had been a dreadful road trip.
Greening’s breakaway goal came after a perfect pass from Patrick Wiercioch. Greening beat Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov high to the trapper.
The power play was set up after Claude Giroux of the Flyers received a double minor for high-sticking Mika Zibanejad.
Daniel Alfredsson provided the insurance, scoring into an empty net with 6.9 seconds remaining.
The Senators, who began the current road trip on April 2, are scheduled to return following Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
A victory over the Devils would allow them to fly home on a two-game winning streak, putting behind them some of the memories of a road trip that started so terribly.
While Senators goaltender Robin Lehner wasn’t nearly as busy as Bryzgalov in the first two periods, he was sharp in the third, especially in the final minute and early in the period when Philadelphia had two power-play chances.
Bryzgalov, meanwhile, was easy fodder for his many critics here this week, amid speculation that he fell asleep during a team meeting earlier this week. Yet Bryzgalov, who has started 23 of the Flyers past 24 games, was solid in keeping the Senators from having a lead to start the third period.
The Senators outshot the Flyers 24-14 in the opening two periods — a fair indication of the play — but the teams were tied 1-1 as Zack Smith and Giroux exchanged first-period goals.
There was plenty of talk about “desperation” in the air before the puck dropped.
The Flyers began the night seven points and four teams out of a playoff spot, their hopes of making the postseason all but over.
The Senators were aiming to gain control of the season that is sliding away, in a three-way tie with the New Yorks — Islanders and Rangers — for sixth spot in the Eastern Conference and only two points ahead of the ninth-place Winnipeg Jets.
Senators coach Paul MacLean gave the nod to Lehner over Craig Anderson, even though Lehner had never before played here before. He hadn’t won since March 23.
There was a different look to the Senators.
Centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau was recalled from Binghamton of the AHL, while Peter Regin took a seat and Jim O’Brien remained on the sidelines.
MacLean was also guarding against the Flyers taking control physically off the opening faceoff, starting a forward line of Matt Kassian, Zack Smith and Chris Neil.
It paid off early. Smith opened the scoring, breaking behind the Flyers’ defence and taking a perfect feed from Marc Methot before beating Bryzgalov on a deke. It was Smith’s first goal since March 8, ending a nine-game drought. The power line was a force much of the night. In the opening minute of the second period, Neil banked a shot off the post and the puck slid across the goal line before Bryzgalov scooped it out.
The Senators dominated the opening 10 minutes of the game, pressing and pressing for a second goal and drawing two penalties. But the second power play backfired, with Giroux tipping a shot past Lehner to tie the game shorthanded.
GAME FILE
CHEERS
Colin Greening, Senators: After the pretty breakaway pass from Patrick Wiercioch, Greening hit the roof of the net with a fantastic shot over the shoulder of Ilya Bryzgalov.
JEERS
Claude Giroux, Flyers: His double minor for high-sticking Mika Zibanejad opened the door for the Senators’ power play to finally cash in.
WHY THEY WON
The Senators stuck with it throughout, controlling the tempo of the game for much of the night and finally winning a game in the third period after having no success late in games during the four previous games on the road trip.
SHORT-HANDED BLOW
Giroux’s first-period goal was the first short-handed goal the Senators have allowed this season. The goal took the steam out of the Senators’ quick start.

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