OTTAWA - The optimist looks at last night's 5-4 shootout loss and commends the Flyers for battling back from a third-period deficit to grab a point in the standings.
"We found a way to get a point," Luke Schenn said. "When you give up two goals in the third period, it's tough to bounce back from that. You've got to give guys credit for the point."
The pessimist looks at last night's shootout loss and says the Flyers never should have blown their 3-2 third-period lead to begin with - especially against a team that was just 2-12-2 this season when trailing entering the final frame.
"We sat back a little too much there in the third period," Michael Raffl said. "They were flying."
The realist, though, reminds themselves that the Flyers aren't very good at the shootout skills competition and comes to the conclusion that the Flyers were inches away from grabbing a much-needed second point in the standings in their most winnable game of this seasonlong, 13-day road trip. Ottawa was the only team on the trip with a record under .500.
Sean Couturier circled at the blue line and raced in on Craig Anderson in the shootout, lifting a wrist shot that connected at crux of the crossbar and right post. Clanging loudly, the puck bounced high off the Senators' net as Anderson skated away in victory.
"If it was an inch lower, I think I would have had him," Couturier said. "Tonight, we fought back at least when we were down."
So, after a rather quiet night inside Canadian Tire Centre, it was more optimism than pessimism flowing out of the Flyers' locker room. They have now scored 14 goals in their three games (4.7 goals per game) this season against the Senators, more than double their season average. The Flyers can finish off their trip with a 3-2-1 record if they can grab a win against the defending Stanley Cup champs in Chicago tomorrow night.
"I think any time you lose a shootout or overtime, you feel like [you left something on the table]," coach Craig Berube said. "It was kind of a back-and-forth game. I thought the guys battled hard all game."
After going the first 27 appearances of his Flyers career without allowing four or more goals in a contest, Steve Mason did it for the second straight game.
The bipolar goaler, Roman Cechmanek, set the Flyers record for consecutive appearances (30) without allowing four or more goals.
Yet, it's nearly impossible to fault Mason for at least three of the goals: a puck bouncing on-edge from Clarke MacArthur on a partial breakaway, a Kyle Turris shot through a screen, and MacArthur's second tally off a shin pad. And it was Mason, yet again, who held strong as the Senators peppered him with point-blank chances - including a Milan Michalek one-timer in the final minute of overtime.
The Flyers have given up nine goals in their last two contests, but the weight of that doesn't rest on Mason's shoulders. Berube said he doesn't have a problem with the Flyers' defensive play, either, which has been the key in their turnaround.
"I'm not sure it's defensive structure," Berube said. "I think there were some funny goals in this game."
Aside from their fumble in the third period, there were a slew of other positives. Jake Voracek was flying. He ended his 12-game goal-less drought in the second period.
Raffl had his best game in the NHL to date. He scored his first career NHL goal to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first period and added an assist to make it his first career multipoint night. When the buzzer sounded, though, reality set in.
"It was nice to get the first goal," Raffl said. "It would have been nicer to get the win. I think we sat back a little too much there in the third period; they were flying. I thought we did a lot of good stuff. We wanted to come out with the win, but we didn't manage to do that."
The Flyers' three-game winning streak against Ottawa was snapped . . . Sean Couturier's first-period fight with Kyle Turris was the first of his NHL career . . . Vinny Lecavalier, who will miss 3 to 4 weeks with a nondisplaced fracture in his lower-back, was placed on the injury list yesterday to make room on the 23-man roster for AHL call-up Tye McGinn. McGinn has three goals for the Flyers this season but Craig Berube chose to dress the same lineup as the previous three games of the road trip . . . Steve Downie played his 300th career NHL game.