Hoffman lifts Senators to shootout victory over Flyers
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PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Hoffman dazzled in the shootout while Craig Anderson was simply solid.
Hoffman's tally was the only goal among 12 players in the shootout and lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Anderson made 33 saves in regulation in overtime before six Flyers tried and failed to score against him in the shootout.
"Yeah, I think tonight was one of those nights where you're just feeling pretty good with the shootout, being patient, not moving too much," Anderson said. "And they miss the net on the second one - you need a little bit of luck sometimes with those. I've been in there where you can't stop anything, so every night is something new."
The Senators looked like they had the game won in regulation, but Nolan Patrick tied it with 2.6 seconds left in the third period to force overtime.
Neither team scored in the 3-on-3 5-minute period and neither looked like it was going to score in the shootout, either. After six Flyers shooters and five Senators missed, Hoffman finally connected with a pretty move that beat Michal Neuvirth and sent Ottawa to consecutive victories for the first time since Jan. 5-6.
Hoffman got Neuvirth to bite on his forehand fake and then reached back with just his right hand on the stick for the winning goal.
"There are moves that work," Hoffman said. "Some don't. If you don't try them, you never know."
Derick Brassard, Matt Duchene and Chris DiDomenico scored in regulation and Ryan Dzingel had a pair of assists for Ottawa. Craig Anderson made 33 saves for the Senators.
Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton also scored in regulation for Philadelphia, which lost its fourth straight to hurt its playoff position. The Flyers began play clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but just a point ahead of the Rangers and Islanders.
"It's an important point that we earned in the third period, but I don't think it leaves any satisfaction for us," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.
The Senators entered with the third-fewest points in the NHL and tied for the least road wins with six but managed to take advantage of Philadelphia and its tenuous goalie situation.
With top goaltender Brian Elliott (lower body) sidelined for the fourth straight game, Hakstol elected to start rookie Alex Lyon for the second consecutive contest. Lyon made his first career start in Thursday's 4-3 loss at New Jersey.
Elliott's regular backup, Neuvirth, had started Wednesday's 5-3 loss in Washington before being pulled for Lyon. Neuvirth may have landed in Hakstol's doghouse after the game by saying he was ill, something he hadn't conveyed to Hakstol beforehand.
Neuvirth replaced Lyon to start the third period with the Senators leading 3-1.
Hakstol said he began with Lyon strictly because of Neuvirth's health.
"(Neuvirth) was available if needed and I thought that was the right time to make a change for our team," he said.
Laughton's tip of Brandon Manning's slap shot with 5:45 left in the third pulled the Flyers within a goal. And Patrick knotted the game at 3 on a rebound after Craig Anderson stopped Shayne Gostisbehere's slap shot from the point.
The Senators scored a pair of first-period goals to take a 2-0 lead.
Duchene opened the scoring when he deked around Laughton and roofed over Lyon's glove with 9:07 left in the period. Brassard followed 39 seconds later when he poked home his 13th of the season.
Couturier ended a six-game goal drought with his 27th of the season, extending his career high, 3:53 into the second period to get the Flyers on the board.
Ottawa went ahead by two again with 6:58 left in the second when DiDomenico finished a 2-on-1 break after an assist from Dzingel. The odd-man rush started when Claude Giroux slipped just over the blue line in the Flyers zone.
The Senators appeared to go in front three goals with 2.9 seconds left in the second when Brassard beat Lyon for a second time, but the goal was disallowed after a coach's challenge determined Ottawa was offside on the play.
NOTES: Elliott skated on Friday and could be ready for the Flyers' next game, Tuesday at Carolina. ... The Senators' Bobby Ryan (hand) didn't play after getting hurt in the third period of Thursday's 2-1 win over Anaheim. Ryan will miss Sunday's game against Montreal. ... The Senators won both games of the season series, which wraps up Feb. 24 in Ottawa.
Senators: At Montreal on Sunday.
Flyers: At Carolina on Tuesday night.
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