Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Philadelphia leads 3-1

Game 1: Sunday, October 30th
Flyers5Final
Senators3
Game 2: Thursday, December 22nd
Senators3Final
Flyers4
Game 3: Saturday, February 11th
Flyers2Final
Senators3
Game 4: Saturday, March 25th
Senators3Final
Flyers6

Flyers 2

(33-16-9, 75 pts)

Senators 3

(37-14-5, 79 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 11, 2006

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
PHI 0 2 02
OTT 2 1 03

A. Vermette (Senators - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Niittymaki (Flyers - G): Saves: 21, Save Pct.: .955

C. Kelly (Senators - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Senators grab early lead, hang on to beat Flyers

OTTAWA (AP) -- Dany Heatley and the Ottawa Senators showed they can win low-scoring games.

Heatley scored 19 seconds into the second period and the Senators held on for a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Ottawa, 33-0 when scoring at least four goals, improved to 4-14-5 when getting three or fewer.

"When you win the close games like that it feels real nice," Senators defenseman Wade Redden said. "We're aware (of the stats). It's not like we felt we could never win the close ones.

"A lot of games have been close and we put them away late. We'd like to keep doing that instead of winning the close ones but it was a nice win."

Heatley's 34th goal of the season put Ottawa ahead 3-0 before the Flyers rallied with two goals later in the second to make it close.

Antoine Vermette and Vaclav Varada had first-period goals for the Senators, who won for the first time in three games and head into the Olympic break in first place in the Northeast Division.

Simon Gagne and Donald Brashear scored for Philadelphia, which remained second in the Atlantic, three points behind the first-place New York Rangers.

"Other teams were starting to close the gap so we got those big two points," Heatley said. "Now the guys are going over (to Turin) and are going to play in the Olympics and the other guys are going to get a break and we'll get going again after."

Robert Esche started in goal for Philadelphia but was replaced at 14:07 of the first after giving up two scores, not for his play but as an attempt by head coach Ken Hitchcock to shake up his team. Ottawa led 2-0 at the time and had a 13-4 edge in shots.

Antero Niittymaki replaced Esche and was solid, stopping 21 of 22 shots.

"It was a wakeup call," Hitchcock said. "We needed to get something changed because we were on our heels. It certainly wasn't a reflection on (Esche), he played fine.

"We needed something to wake it up a bit and Nitty came in and did a great job for us."

Dominik Hasek had 29 saves for Ottawa.

"Everybody contributed so I think we have to feel good about ourselves after this win," Hasek said.

On Heatley's goal, Patrick Eaves took the initial shot that Niittymaki stopped but Heatley was able to convert the rebound.

Vermette opened the scoring 8:58 into the first when he poked the puck past Esche with defenseman Joni Pitkanen lying on top of him.

Varada made it 2-0 when he fired a shot past Esche after taking a one-handed pass from Chris Neil.

Gagne scored his 37th goal of the season at 13:46 of the second to cut the Flyers' deficit to 3-1 before Brashear registered his third of the season at 16:52 to make it a one-goal game.

Game notes


The Senators improved to 11-1-2 on Saturday nights this season, including Hasek's 9-0-1 mark. ... The Senators have sold out their last 19 home dates and have a club-record 25 sellouts in 29 games this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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