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Flyers: 5 Observations as Zack MacEwen, Carter Hart Help Beat Ottawa, Claude Giroux



Zack MacEwen, Philadelphia Flyers
Zack MacEwen, shown in a file photo, scored the game-winning goal for the Flyers in Ottawa on Saturday night.

One streak ended, another was prolonged Saturday night as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, at the Canadian Tire Center.

The Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak and extended the Senators’ skid to five games.

Philly’s special teams played a major role in the win. The Flyers were 1 for 3 on the power play, and 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.

“The brightest spot for me is we had the puck more” than in recent games, coach John Tortorella said after the Philadelphia Flyers (6-3-2) finished a 1-1-1 road trip.

Here are five quick observations:

1. Zack MacEwen is rewarding his coach’s faith.

A fourth-liner last season, MacEwen — who is known more for his fists — has been playing mostly on the second and third lines this season. He was on the third line Saturday, and he gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 1:36 left in the second period.

MacEwen had one shot blocked, but picked up a loose puck and scored on a great shot from the high slot, beating Cam Talbot. It was his third goal in his nine games. That matched his total in 75 games last season.

“We just got some sustained pressure … and it was nice to capitalize,” he said of a shift that was aided by Wade Allison keeping the puck alive.

All told, MacEwen, 26, had seven shot attempts and three hits in 12:03.

2. This is not a recording: Carter Hart carried the Flyers.

Hart has been the Flyers’ MVP in the early part of the season. And it isn’t even close.

Without Hart’s outstanding play in the nets, the Flyers would been been in a 3-1 hole in the first period. Instead, it was tied at 1-1 after 20 minutes despite Ottawa having a huge territorial advantage.

Hart, 24, has been among the NHL leaders in most categories this year. He is 6-0-2, and he became the fifth goalie in franchise history to start a season unbeaten in regulation in his first eight games.

On Saturday, Hart stopped 33 of 34 shots. He made one of his best saves with a little under 18 minutes left in regulation, denying Alex DeBrincat from point-blank range.

Hart now has a 1.97 GAA and a staggering .947 save percentage.

3. Claude Giroux had a big night against his former teammates.

The Ottawa right winger said it would be “weird” facing his ex-teammates for the first time in his 16-year career.

Could have fooled us.

Giroux looked comfortable all night. Just 2:44 into the game, he finished off a three-on-two by tapping the puck past Hart and giving the Senators a 1-0 lead. It was his 300th career goal — and fourth in the last three games.

A Flyers turnover at their offensive blue line created the odd-man rush.

Giroux, 34, who had dinner with several of his former teammates Friday, finished with a goal, three shots, and eight wins in 11 draws (73%).

“I never thought I’d play for another team,” Giroux said before the game, “but here I am.”

He was traded to Florida last season before signing with Ottawa this summer as a free agent.

4. The Flyers’ power play continued its steady play.

While on the power play, Kevin Hayes tipped in Tony DeAngelo’s first-period point drive to tie the game at 1-1. The tally came less than three minutes after Giroux’s score.

The Flyers have scored a power play in eight of their 11 games. They are connecting at 20 percent, marked improvement from last season’s awful PP numbers: 12.6 percent, last in the NHL.

5. Nick Deslauriers and his linemates had a strong game.

The fourth-line left winger’s hustle and hard play led to several quality shifts. He had five hits to disrupt the Senators (4-7), and he played a big role on the penalty kill, which was 5 for 5.

In addition, Deslauriers drew a high-sticking penalty on Thomas Chabot to put the Flyers on the power play that ended with Hayes’ goal.

Tortorella said the line of Deslauriers, Morgan Frost, and Tanner Laczynski “set the tone, as far as our forechecking.”


The Flyers had 29 blocks, including five by Travis Sanheim. … Lukas Sedlak had eight shot attempts, three hits, and two blocked shots. …  “We did a much better job tonight of sustaining our zone time,” defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. … Rasmus Ristolainen and Kieffer Bellows were healthy scratches. Justin Braun (plus-1, two blocks) and Frost (plus-1, won four of five faceoffs) returned to the lineup. … Owen Tippett was elevated to the top line at left wing. … Egor Zamula started the game on the second pairing (with Sanheim) but was moved to the third pairing late in the first. … The Flyers have allowed the first goal in nine of their 11 games. … Ottawa has the most penalty minutes in the NHL, and the Flyers are No. 2. … Giroux and the Senators will visit the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are still available.

Claude Giroux Scores 300th Career Goal in Loss to His Former Team

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