(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators look to keep their incredible run heading in the right direction on Sunday night when they take on the fading Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sens have put together a 12-2-2 mark over their last 16 games and sit seven points back of the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals for the Eastern Conference's two wild card spots. They have a game in hand on Boston and have played two fewer games than Washington.
Ottawa is coming off a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Friday, its second straight victory and fifth in six games as the club rode another great performance by goaltender Andrew Hammond, who burst onto the scene while netminders Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were injured. Anderson has returned from his hand injury, but Lehner remains sidelined with a concussion.
Hammond made 34 saves to beat the Islanders, improving to 9-0-1 with a 1.44 goals against average and .954 save percentage on the season. He is the first goaltender since 1938 to begin his NHL career with 10 straight starts of giving up two goals or fewer.
The 27-year-old Hammond lost his shutout bid with 8:01 left in regulation versus the Islanders, but was backed by goals from Kyle Turris and Matt Puempel.
"We got into a little bit of penalty trouble but the killers did a great job," Hammond said. "I really wanted to worry about making the first save."
Ottawa will play five of its next six games at home and it is unknown if Hammond will make a third straight start or if Anderson will return to net.
The Flyers begin a four-game road trip with a little momentum as they routed the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 on Saturday to snap a four-game slide. That still leaves Philadelphia 10 points out of a playoff spot, however.
Brayden Schenn had a pair of goals and two assists versus the Red Wings, while Wayne Simmonds scored and set up two other tallies. Matt Read, Zac Rinaldo, Nicklas Grossmann and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored for the Flyers, who got 31 saves from Steve Mason while matching a season high for goals in a game.
Forward Nick Cousins is expected to make his NHL debut for the Flyers tonight after getting recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League. The 21-year-old leads the Phantoms with 21 goals and 55 points.
He'll slot in for forward R.J. Umberger, who is expected to miss the rest of the season as he will undergo surgery on his hip and abdominal muscles.
The Flyers are 4-0-1 over their past five encounters with the Senators, winning the first of three meetings this season 2-1 in a shootout at Philadelphia on Jan. 6.
Simmonds netted the tying goal for the Flyers in that win and then scored the shootout winner, while Mason made 41 saves.
Mike Hoffman tallied for the Senators and Anderson made 33 saves.