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March 15, 2015

Flyers fall to Senators in shootout

Flyers NHL

OTTAWA -- In tribute to his record-setting run as an NHL starter, Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond had a burger thrown his way by a fan at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday night.

As he is doing regularly for the Senators these days, the 27-year old goalie responded by playing the role of ice cleaner.

"I picked it up and I tried throwing it to someone in the crowd, but they weren't ready for it," Hammond said. "They kind of dodged it."

Meanwhile, Hammond only missed one puck through three periods, overtime and the three rounds of a shootout as the Senators defeated the Flyers 2-1 to move within five points of the Boston Bruins for the last Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

While right winger Bobby Ryan scored the only goal of the shootout, Hammond was the hero of the night, again.

In his 27-save performance, he became the second goalie in NHL history to give up two or fewer goals in each of his first 11 games as a starter. Boston Bruins netminder Frank Brimsek holds the record of 12 games, set in 1938.

Hammond has yet to lose a game in regulation time, compiling a 10-0-1 record since taking over the job as Ottawa's main goalie after injuries to Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.

The local McDonald's chain promised him hamburgers for life for all the publicity he is providing.

"Obviously, it's pretty surreal to hear that," Hammond said when reminded of the record. "I've seen the Tweets and stuff ... (that it's the first time) since WWI or something. ... It's obviously a pretty crazy run and something I'm proud of. But at the end of the day, you can't do it without the team playing well in front of you."

Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored in regulation for the Senators (33-24-11), while winger Jakub Voracek replied for the Flyers (29-27-15).

Flyers goalie Ray Emery stopped 27 shots through three periods and overtime, including four off Ryan's stick.

"I had some opportunities I'd really like back, shots-wise," Ryan said. "A couple on the power play in the second. ... When they're not going in, you really grip it tight. (Scoring the shootout goal) takes a little of the frustration off, for sure."

The Senators improved to 13-2-2 in their past 17 games.

"Coming to the rink every day is a lot of fun right now," Ryan said. "It's a pretty nice career when you're winning, that's for sure. Right now, we just hope it's not too little, too late. If it is, you still have to leave here knowing you did everything possible, and a lot of guys are going to be feeling pretty good about that."

The loss left Philadelphia 10 points back of the Bruins and all but officially eliminated from the playoff chase. The Flyers, who were coming off a 7-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, are now 3-9 in shootouts this season.

"We'd probably be close (with a better shootout record), right?," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "It probably is mental. It's nothing more than that. They have the skill to put the puck in the net. It's a combination of not scoring enough and not getting a save. I thought Ray did a good job on the first two shooters, and we couldn't get a goal."

Having a better road record than 9-18-9 would help the Philly cause, too.

Pageau broke a scoreless tie with his fourth of the season at 5:19 of the second period. After a point shot by Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki was stopped by Emery, Pageau was there to bat in the rebound out of mid-air.

Voracek knotted the count at 12:12 of the second with his first even-strength goal in 38 games, dating back to Dec. 21. From the top of the left circle, Voracek received a puck that was being battled for along the boards. His quick shot grazed off Hammond's trapper on its way into the net.

The game ended on a Hammond stop of a shot by Flyers center Claude Giroux.

"You can see this guy has got a lot of confidence right now, and you can see the fans are liking it a lot," Giroux said. "It's that kind of goalie that's hot right now. They're putting him in there, and he's doing a good job."

And the Senators are enjoying the ride.

"I think it's awesome to see (Hammond) play this well and come here and win games," Pageau said. "I think we're really a good team right now, and we're just trying to keep going."

NOTES: The Senators play the Hurricanes on Tuesday in Carolina. ... The Flyers play the second leg of their four-game road trip Tuesday in Vancouver. ... Senators G Andrew Hammond made his third consecutive start and his 11th in the team's past 13 games. Senators coach Dave Cameron said while he was at church Saturday, even his priest told him he's "got to start the young fella'" over G Craig Anderson, the Senators' No. 1 goaltender the past five seasons. ... Flyers G Ray Emery, a former Senator, started his first game since Feb. 19. ... Philadelphia D Michal Del Zotto (upper body) missed his fifth consecutive game. ... The Flyers scratched D Brandon Manning and C Nick Cousins. Ottawa scratched D Eric Gryba and LW Colin Greening.