Nothing sounded better to Craig Anderson than the sound of the puck hitting the post.
After Sean Couturier’s shootout attempt rang off the iron behind Anderson, the Senators claimed a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, ending an ugly stretch of home ice defeats and awful shootout results.
Jason Spezza ended up with the only goal of the penalty-shot competition, the first goal the Senators had scored in 13 shootout attempts this season. Before Monday’s victory, the Senators had dropped their first four shootout games this season.
With the win, the Senators ended a five-game losing streak at Canadian Tire Centre, dating all the way back to a victory over the Boston Bruins on November 15.
While the Senators are still six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fight for the final wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the victory allows them to pull into a tie with the Flyers.
Now, they have an opportunity to make up more ground with an away and home series against the lowly Buffalo Sabres, beginning with a game in Buffalo Tuesday.
It was a wild back and forth game and fittingly, both teams had chances in overtime.
The best came off the stick of Milan Michalek, who hit the post on a two-on-one break with Kyle Turris with one minute left in the four on four session.
The Senators held a 34-29 shot edge.
Both clubs had opportunities to win the game outright in regulation, but neither team could take control.
The Senators held a 4-3 lead in the third and a 2-1 edge in the second. The Flyers were up 3-2 in the second and 1-0 in the first.
Yet every time momentum swung this way, it swung right back.
Third period goals from Turris (his first in eight games) and Clarke MacArthur (his second of the game) had given the Senators a 4-3 lead, seemingly in position to bring home a win.
After Kimmo Timmonen’s floating wrist shot from the blue line cleared a group of bodies and caught the top of the net behind Anderson, it was a brand new game yet again, deadlocked 4-4, setting up the finish.
Well, there was a bit more left in regulation after that.
Anderson, who had allowed the first three Flyers goals on 11 shots, kept the Flyers from winning this in regulation.
He robbed Jakub Voracek, making a splendid glove save with 5:34 left. In the final minute, he kicked out his pad and dove across the crease to steal sure goals away from Claude Giroux.
Goals by Voracek and Luke Schenn 1:50 apart in the second period gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead they carried into the third period.
Voracek’s goal, on a power play, came after Patrick Wiercioch had put the Senators ahead 2-1 on an Ottawa power play.
The teams were deadlocked 1-1 after the first period.
The red-hot MacArthur took advantage of a fortunate bounce – Jason Spezza’s pass bounced off the skate of Flyers defenceman Nicklas Grossmann, into open ice inside the Flyers blueline – beating Mason on a breakaway. There was some justice in the MacArthur goal.
Michael Raffl’s first NHL goal, which came directly after the puck bounced off a skate in the slot, gave the Flyers their early 1-0 lead.
It was the 22nd time this season the Senators have allowed the first goal of the game.
WHY THEY WON: After 12 failed attempts in four previous shootout losses, Jason Spezza finally found the range, deking Steve Mason for the winner.
CHEERS: Clarke MacArthur, Senators. MacArthur scored twice and now has five goals and four assists in his past seven games.
JEERS: Blown leads. Neither team could shut down their opponent to put the game out of reach. Perhaps it only makes sense that both teams are currently out of a playoff spot.
LOCAL FLAVOUR: Tye McGinn, recalled from Adirondack of the American Hockey League to replaced the injured Vincent Lecavalier, owns a rare distinction: he played junior for both the Ottawa 67′s and Gatineau Olympiques.