Preview: Senators at Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers occupied the basement of the NHL just under two months ago before steadily ascending in the Eastern Conference on the strength of a sizzling 17-4-2 run. The Flyers look to continue their bid for a stunning turnaround on Monday when they host the league-worst Ottawa Senators, who were the first team to be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
"We just focus on the next game. It's easier that way," James van Riemsdyk told reporters after scoring and setting up a goal in Philadelphia's 5-2 victory Saturday over the New York Islanders that moved the club within five points of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Van Riemsdyk has played a significant role in the Flyers' spirited surge, registering 23 (14 goals, nine assists) of his 37 points in the last two months while reaching the 20-goal plateau for the third straight season and sixth time in 10 campaigns. As for Ottawa, the gloom and doom continued on Saturday as it fell for the 10th time in 11 outings (1-9-1) with a 3-2 setback in Boston. "In order to win, it's usually always about a series of habits. And on the final goal, we missed two assignments, we had a poor change, and those things can't happen," Senators coach Marc Crawford told reporters.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN5, RDS (Ottawa), NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE SENATORS (23-40-6): Craig Anderson turned aside 28 of 31 shots on Saturday to see his winless stretch extend to 13 appearances (0-11-1), although the 37-year-old saw a few positives before the bottom fell out against the Bruins. "I thought we probably deserved a better fate," Anderson told reporters. "We played a pretty good, solid game overall, and attention to details (cost us) near the end." Anderson, who last won on Dec. 17, saw his career mark versus Philadelphia dip to 12-7-3 after surrendering six goals on 44 shots in a 7-4 setback on Oct. 10.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (33-27-8): Captain Claude Giroux boosted his team-leading totals in assists (53) and points (73) after setting up Nolan Patrick's second-period tally against the Islanders. The 31-year-old Ontario native has three goals and nine assists during his seven-game point streak and one and two, respectively, versus Ottawa this season. Travis Konecny scored for the fourth time in his last four games on Saturday and Sean Couturier lifted his club-high goal total to 28 after netting his third in that stretch.
1. Philadelphia RW Jakub Voracek, who has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his last five contests, was suspended two games by the NHL on Sunday for interference on Islanders D Johnny Boychuk.
2. Senators C Jean-Gabriel Pageau has three points (two goals, one assist) in his last four contests after mustering just five in his previous 23.
3. Flyers C Scott Laughton, who scored two goals and set up two others in a pair of games versus Ottawa this season, has two goals and two assists during his four-game point streak.
PREDICTION: Flyers 4, Senators 2