The Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers each got off to surprisingly solid starts this season, but both will be trying to end losing streaks when they meet on Saturday night at Ottawa.
The Senators have lost four in a row to cancel out a four-game winning streak that gave them a 4-2-0 start to the season.
The Flyers have lost three in a row and four of five following a 4-1-0 start.
“We’ve found a way to win some games with some really good goaltending that’s given us an opportunity,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said. “But we still have a ton of work to do to be considered a team that’s come together.”
Ottawa center Claude Giroux will face the Flyers for the first time in his career after spending his first 15 NHL seasons with Philadelphia.
The Flyers traded Giroux to the Florida Panthers toward the end of last season. After helping the Panthers reach the Eastern Conference semifinals, he signed a three-year deal with the Senators in the offseason.
Giroux is coming in hot, producing three goals and two assists in a four-game point streak.
Ottawa most recently lost 5-4 to the red-hot Vegas Golden Knights at home Thursday. The Senators staged a late rally after trailing 5-1 midway through the game.
“If you play the way we played in the second and third period, we’re going to win a lot of games,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “There’s no such thing as moral victories in sports, but you get that effort from the guys that we got (against Vegas) and you’ll start winning a lot of games.”
The Senators should see an improvement in their goaltending.
Cam Talbot is expected to make his first start of the season after missing the first three weeks with a broken rib. Talbot was acquired from the Minnesota Wild on July 12 but was injured during training camp.
He entered the game on Thursday after Anton Forsberg gave up five goals on 19 shots. Talbot stopped all 13 shots in his season debut and came up big in a five-on-three penalty kill.
“Not the ideal situation to get my first action of the year, but that’s what I work towards, to be ready when called upon,” Talbot said.
Talbot made his NHL debut against the Flyers as a member of the New York Rangers at the start of the 2013-14 season and was solid in the 2-1 loss.
He has remained sharp against the Flyers in his career, owning a 5-3-1 record with a 2.11 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. He’s posted three of his 27 NHL shutouts against Philadelphia, including back-to-back shutouts against the Flyers in November 2014.
The Flyers most recently went up against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were playing their first game at home after losing the final four games of a five-game road trip.
Toronto seemed more determined down the stretch, outscoring Philadelphia 3-1 in the third period to win 5-2.
Tortorella wasn’t happy with the mixed effort levels in his lineup.
“It hasn’t come together. It’s still a ways away, and that’s part of our job as a coaching staff, to bring it together,” Tortorella said. “It’s going to take some time.”
Flyers goalie Carter Hart is 5-0-2 this season with a .943 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average.
–Field Level Media