OTTAWA — Bobby Ryan, Zach Smith and Kyle Turris were out but the Ottawa Senators still found enough offence and just enough defence on Thursday to earn a tough two points.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and two assists and Erik Karlsson had two assists as the Senators, without three of their best players, defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. They will be without the trio again Friday as they play the Devils in New Jersey.
"Coach addressed it and said sometimes adversity at the beginning of the year is a good thing," said defenceman Mark Borowiecki, who had one of the Senators goals. "Obviously you never want to see guys hurt or sick but from a group perspective if you're able to battle through that adversity earlier it can make you tighter going through the stretch."
The Flyers appeared to score midway through the third period but after a coach's challenge the goal was reversed due to goaltender interference. Less than a minute later Tom Pyatt scored at 10:33 to give the Senators a 5-2 lead before Philadelphia's Ivan Provorov and Sean Couturier cut that lead to 5-4 with goals at 15:18 and 18:14 respectively.
"We made it interesting for our fans and make sure they don't leave their seats early," said Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who made 36 saves.
The Flyers appeared to score again in the final minute but it was ruled no goal and the ice and upheld on the review.
"The last one, though, I've watched the puck go over the line and it's 100 per cent a goal," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "I don't know how that's missed. That bothers me because our guys fought their rear ends off tonight to get back into this thing and tie this thing up. We tied it up. It's there. I just watched it on our own video in the coaches' room and it's clear as day."
Dion Phaneuf and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa (5-1-4).
Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny had the other goals for Philadelphia (5-5-0), while Michal Neuvirth stopped 22 shots.
Phaneuf opened the scoring on the power play early in the first when his floater from the point eluded Neuvirth and into the top corning for a 1-0 Ottawa lead.
Borowiecki scored at 9:50 of the first when his attempted pass to Pyatt went off the stick of Flyers' defenceman Travis Sanheim and past Neuvirth.
Karlsson picked off a pass from Konecny near his own blue line and carried the puck into the Flyers' end before setting up Pageau for his first goal of the season at 13:28 of the first to make it 3-0.
Voracek scored his first of the season at 14:30 when his shot from behind the net hit Phaneuf at the top of the crease and bounced in behind Anderson cutting the Senators lead to 3-1.
Seconds later, Konecny was sent in alone with a stretch pass from Radko Gudas and he beat Anderson to the stick side with a shot from the hash marks at 15:23.
Stone responded at 17:37 of the period giving the Senators the 4-2 lead they carried into the final period.
"We've been facing a lot of adversity with a lot of key players missing. It gives guys a chance to step up and everybody that the guys are coming up and ready to play," Pageau said.
"It's a big win for us."
Notes — Kyle Turris and Jack Rodewald were scratches for the Senators on Thursday while Nolan Patrick and Dale Weise were scratches for the Flyers… Filip Chlapik made his NHL debut Thursday and recorded his first NHL point when he assisted on the Senators' opening goal…Flyers defenceman Shane Gostisbehere led the league in power-play assists with seven entering play Wednesday.