While the Philadelphia Flyers appear to be coasting toward a top seed in the postseason, the Eastern Conference-worst Ottawa Senators are adjusting to a revamped squad after multiple roster moves.
The disparity between the teams may help Philadelphia end a long losing streak in Ottawa.
The Flyers look for their first road win against the Senators in more than three years when the teams face off Saturday night.
Philadelphia (40-15-6) has a seven-point lead in the East over second-place Tampa Bay and has maintained a strong hold on the top spot for most of the season. Andrej Meszaros, who scored in overtime of the Flyers' 4-3 win Thursday against the New York Islanders, said the team has stayed focused despite the added pressure.
"Everybody wants a piece of us, I think," Meszaros said. "We want to be at the top of the league and have, if at all possible, a seventh game (home-ice) advantage (in the playoffs), so we try to fight for that every game."
Sergei Bobrovsky shook off the Islanders' tying goal in the final minute of the third and finished with 32 saves for his first win in three starts. He's won both starts against Ottawa this season as the Flyers outscored the Senators 11-3.
Philadelphia won 5-1 on Nov. 15 behind two goals from Mike Richards and a goal and two assists from leading scorer Claude Giroux. Richards then scored twice and had two assists Jan. 20 in a 6-2 victory.
Both wins came at home, however, and Philadelphia is 0-3-2 in Ottawa since a 4-3 victory Nov. 24, 2007. The Flyers are 3-8-2 with three ties as the visitor in the series since the 2001-02 season.
However, this may be the best time for Philadelphia to put a halt to that streak.
Ottawa (20-32-9) failed in a bid to win three straight for the first time since early November, falling 4-2 at Buffalo on Friday. The Senators were playing their first game since trading Alex Kovalev to Pittsburgh on Thursday, which followed the trades of goaltender Brian Elliott and forwards Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly earlier this month.
Craig Anderson, who came over from Colorado in the Elliott deal, made 35 saves against the Sabres but took the loss after winning his first two starts with Ottawa. Anderson has had success against Philadelphia, though, going 5-0-0 with a 2.74 goals-against average in his last five games versus the Flyers.
Winger Marek Svatos, claimed Thursday off waivers from Nashville, was held scoreless in his first game with the team.
Coach Cory Clouston said the Senators new-look lineup is struggling to jell as their disappointing season draws to a close.
"The effort was there, but we just don't have the chemistry right now," Clouston said.
Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist each against the Sabres. Michalek has six points in his last five games, while Spezza had his second straight multi-point game after contributing a goal and two assists in Wednesday's win against Florida. He has 11 points in his last eight games.
Spezza scored against the Flyers in the first meeting this season, while Michalek had a goal in the second contest.
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