OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators will continue to have to battle the odds as they have all season.
Alex DeBrincat scored the game-winning goal 1:36 into overtime to halt Philadelphia's comeback effort and the Ottawa Senators took a 5-4 victory over the Flyers Thursday night. Although the win kept the Senators' slim hopes of securing the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference alive, they lost both Travis Hamonic and Derick Brassard to injuries in the process.
Ottawa was already without defencemen Thomas Chabot and Jakob Chychrun.
“Yeah, both guys, not good,” said Senators head coach D.J. Smith. “We’ll know more in the morning, but neither were able to return and it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to return anytime soon, but we’ll know more in the morning.”
Hamonic was injured midway through the first period and Brassard late in the second.
Tim Stutzle, with a goal and an assist, Austin Watson, Shane Pinto and Claude Giroux also scored for the Senators (37-33-5). Cam Talbot had a quiet night stopping 7-of-11 shots.
Tyler Kleven, making his NHL debut, picked up his first career assist on Giroux’s goal.
“What a fun game,” said Kleven. “I felt calm out there and felt like I played my game and need to learn the systems a little bit better, but for my first game I thought I did pretty well.”
Tony DeAngelo, Cam York and Noah Cates, Owen Tippett replied for the Flyers (29-32-13). Felix Sandstrom made 41 saves.
Philadelphia was outshot 27-5 after two periods, but found a way to score three unanswered goals in the third to tie the game and send it to overtime.
After Giroux made it 4-1 for Ottawa 2:28 into the third period, York scored an unassisted marker at 5:22 for his second of the season.
Cates then cut the deficit to one at 9:54 with a power-play marker.
Tippett netted his 23rd of the campaign with 2:39 remaining to tie the contest at 4-4.
“I thought we showed a little bit more poise (in the third),” said Flyers associate coach Brad Shaw. “I’m glad it was a pretty upbeat bench. ... You look up at the shot clock and it’s kind of demoralizing, but we stayed with it."
Despite it being far from ideal, the Senators didn't seem phased by the comeback effort.
“We were a little frustrated, obviously, for letting them come back in the game,” said Giroux. “But it’s a tie game going into overtime so you have a chance to get the two points, so for us, we just had to go out there and play the 3-on-3.”
DeAngelo’s power-play goal 2:51 into the second period came on Philadelphia's third shot of the game. The Flyers only put two more on net through the end of the period.
“They’re a quick team and they take away chances pretty fast,” said Tippett. “Obviously, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit there, too.
"We could’ve made some more simple plays and put more pucks on net, but when you get limited to that many shots, it’s something that you have to look at on both sides of it.”
Stutzle restored Ottawa's two-goal lead scoring on a Nick Holden rebound at 7:43.
DeBrincat then stunned the crowd by dropping the gloves against Joel Farabee and more than held his own.
Listed at five-foot-eight and 178 pounds, DeBrincat isn't expected to drop the gloves, but his teammates gave him full marks for his tilt.
“People like the fight better it seems like,” said DeBrincat when asked if he got more recognition for the overtime winner or his fight. “I feel like whenever I get in a fight usually I have more texts than if I do something else good in the game. It’s what the people like I guess.”
Pinto made it 3-1 at 16:50 when he tipped a Mathieu Joseph shot in. Moments earlier, Brassard suffered an ankle injury that required him to be helped off the ice.
The Senators outshot the Flyers 17-2 in the opening period and led 1-0 thanks to Watson’s unassisted goal. On the very same play, however, Hamonic suffered a lower-body injury and was done for the night.
Flyers head coach John Tortorella decided to watch the game from the press box with interim general manager Danny Briere to get a perspective from up top and give Shaw a chance to run the bench.
Talbot returned to action after missing 12 games with a mid-body injury. Defenceman Tyler Kleven made his NHL debut. … Sandstrom made consecutive starts for the first time this season for the Flyers. Goalie Carter Hart did not travel to Ottawa and missed his second straight game and remains day-to-day.
The Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night.
The Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2023.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press