Flyers-Senators Preview

The Ottawa Senators feel like they’re playing well, but it isn’t

translating in terms of results.

The only way the Senators can avoid their longest home losing

streak in nearly three years is by knocking off a Philadelphia

Flyers team that has already defeated them twice this season on

Monday night.

The Senators (11-14-5) have lost their last five at home,

something they also did Oct. 19-Nov. 3 before winning three of

four. They haven’t dropped six straight in Ottawa since a 10-game

slide from Dec. 29, 2010-Feb. 18, 2011.

Ottawa has allowed six power-play goals on 18 chances over its

last five home contests, though Toronto scored just once on six

man-advantage opportunities in the Senators’ 4-3 shootout loss on


Ottawa managed a season-high 50 shots, the sixth defeat in team

history in which it had at least that many.

“This has probably been our best six-game block of the season

with our effort, so you’d like to think that first comes the

process and then comes the result,” captain Jason Spezza said of

the team’s performance in its last six overall, in which Ottawa is


During that stretch, the Senators are averaging 40.2 shots –

12.0 more than they’re allowing.

“We’ve been going through the process and I think we’ve been

getting better,” said Spezza, who has 10 goals and 15 assists. “We

can’t hang our heads. We have to build and we have three games in

four nights so it’s a lot of hockey coming.”

The Flyers (13-14-2) have won four of five in this series,

including the season’s first two meetings. They won 5-0 in Ottawa

on Nov. 12 and 5-2 at home a week later.

Philadelphia is 2-2-0 on a season high-tying six-game trip after

a 5-1 loss to Dallas. The Flyers held a 1-0 edge after the first

period, but Tyler Seguin tied it 39 seconds into the second and

followed that with two goals 40 seconds apart late in the period.

Valeri Nichushkin scored 22 seconds later.

“You really don’t realize how quickly things happen until it’s

too late,” goaltender Steve Mason said. “You let three goals in a

game, let alone in one minute, definitely does not bode well.”

Mason is 5-2-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average in seven starts

against Ottawa. He stopped 24 shots in his shutout last month.

He didn’t have much help Saturday as the Flyers surrendered 34

shots, the seventh time they’ve allowed at least that many over

their last 11 games.

“Without Mason making six or seven unbelievable saves, it could

have been 9-1 after the second,” forward Scott Hartnell said.

Philadelphia will have to cope with a longer absence for Vinny

Lecavalier than originally expected. Having already sat out the

last three games due to back spasms, he’s likely to miss another

month with a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. He leads the

team with five power-play goals and is tied for third with 14