OTTAWA — Claude Giroux faced his former team Saturday night and it wasn't the reunion he was hoping for.
Giroux couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game as he scored his 300th career goal at the two-minute mark, but after 60 minutes it was the Philadelphia Flyers who were celebrating a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
“I’m pretty pissed off right now, but I’ll wake up tomorrow and it is what it is,” said the former Flyers captain. “We’re in a little hole, but I’ve been in bigger holes before and come out of it, so right now I’m very frustrated, but not worried about it.”
Facing off against their former captain was a little odd, but also satisfying for the Flyers to come out with a win.
“To be honest, I’ve been in those situations before,” said Kevin Hayes. (Giroux) is a close friend of mine, it might be a little different for him, but it’s not really for me. I’m playing for the Flyers. That’s the team I want to win.”
The Senators (4-7-0) find themselves staring at five straight losses and there’s no denying frustration is setting in.
On this night the Senators will look at their power play and wonder what if? Ottawa was 0-for-5 with the man advantage and also failed to capitalize after pulling its goalie late in the third.
“It comes down to special teams” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “They score on their power play and we go 0-for-5. The game’s on the line and you get a power play in the third period. We’ve got to find a way to put it in.”
“We didn’t give,” said Flyers coach John Tortorella. “We just had to do what we had to do.
"I think the brightest spot to me is I felt we had the puck more during the game. Not so much at the end, but I thought we had some more forechecking. I thought the (Morgan) Frost line — Frost, (Nicolas Deslauriers) and (Tanner Laczynski) — set the tone as far as our forechecking.”
Trailing 2-1 to start the third, the Senators best opportunity came at the 13-minute mark when Travis Sanheim took a weak interference call on Giroux.
The Senators created a couple chances, but just haven’t been able to find a way to capitalize when it’s needed most.
“I think we do a good job of staying in games or getting leads,” said Giroux. “It just looks like at ends of games we can’t deliver and that’s going to change, but it needs to change quick.
“It’s very frustrating. At the end of the day, we’re in every game, we’ve just got to find a way to get results.”
The Senators could definitely benefit from a few goals from Alex DeBrincat. Known for his goal scoring abilities the winger, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks, has just two goals in his first 11 games and one was an empty-netter.
“I think I’ve had some chances to, you know, put our team back in the game, tie it up so it’s definitely frustrating,” said DeBrincat. “Chances are coming and just not going in the net so I feel like I’m letting the team down a little bit.”
Cam Talbot made his first start for the Senators and looked solid making 26 saves.
The veteran netminder sees plenty of potential in his new team and says the most important thing they can do is stay true to their identity.
“I think we just have to keep working hard,” said Talbot. “We can’t get away from what makes us successful. When we’re creating turnovers, going back the other way and not giving up the odd man rushes going into our zone. Those are all recipes for success.
"We need to keep doing that. We can’t get away from that just because it’s not going our way right now.”
Carter Hart is good friends with Senators netminder Talbot. In the past, they've trained together and Talbot was a mentor of sorts to Hart when the latter was in the early stages of his career. Talbot and Hart were teammates for a brief period with the Flyers during the 2018-19 season.
With his first period goal, Giroux has now scored against all 32 teams in the league. The Senators recalled D Jacob Bernard-Docker, but he was not inserted in the lineup. Philadelphia has allowed the opposition to score first in nine of its 11 games. This was the first of three meetings between the two teams.
The Senators host the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night, while the Flyers will host the St. Louis Blues Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2022.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press