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Healthy Flyers look to continue momentum vs. Senators

The Philadelphia Flyers were besieged by injuries last season.

Thus far this season, it’s a whole new ballgame.

The Flyers will look to record their second straight victory to open the 2023-24 campaign when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.

Cam Atkinson, who had been sidelined following neck surgery, scored a goal for the first time since 2021-22 and Sean Couturier added an assist in Philadelphia’s 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Couturier played his first regular-season game since Dec. 18, 2021, following two surgeries on his back.

“He’s in the right place at the right time and you can’t get the puck away,” Travis Konecny said of Couturier. “He plays the right way, and when you do that, you get rewarded.”

Konecny scored two goals, Scott Laughton set up a pair of tallies and Carter Hart made 31 saves and even contributed a rare assist.

“I thought everybody contributed,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said. “I think everybody wants to be part of the game. From where I was last year on the bench to just the first game this year, there are more people that I can put in situations. The first game I didn’t do too much checking, as far as matching lines. I wanted everybody to play.”

In the offseason, the Flyers made a point to tighten up defensively.

“We did a good job of in front of our net,” Hart said. “We did a good job in front of theirs, as well — tied up some sticks and blocked some shots and battled hard.”

The Senators dropped a 5-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in their season opener on Wednesday.

Mathieu Joseph and Parker Kelly collected a goal and an assist apiece and Tim Stutzle also tallied for Ottawa.

Josh Norris was out with a shoulder injury and fellow forward Shane Pinto remains unsigned.

“I thought we came out great,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “Second period, a couple of turnovers land in our net, but then we (tie it up) 3-3 and then a couple get in the net. Six penalties (are) too many. On the road, you can’t take more than three and there were some good things, but there were some guys who probably wish they had better games.”

The Senators may need to call up a player for Saturday’s game if Norris or Zack MacEwen are unable to play.

While Smith didn’t reveal his cards in that regard, he did stress the importance of Saturday’s matinee versus Philadelphia.

“You get up in the morning and you can only control what you can control,” Smith said. “And for each player, that’s to do your job. For me, I have to do my job. Whether you’re short a guy or whatever the case may be — a guy gets injured in the middle of game — you can’t stop playing.

“You’ve got to play the game and we’re coming here to play and to win.”

–Field Level Media

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