PHILADELPHIA - Mike Knuble and Scottie Upshall scored to spoil Bryan Murray's return behind the Ottawa bench and lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-1 win over the Senators on Thursday night.
Not even Murray's move down from the front office could change the result for the sputtering Senators. Murray, also the Senators' general manager, coached the team for the first time since the Anaheim Ducks eliminated Ottawa in last year's Stanley Cup final.
Murray took over Wednesday after he dismissed John Paddock, who failed to sustain Ottawa's early-season burst and paid with his job in less than a season.
The Senators won 15 of their first 17 games and were first in the Eastern Conference until last weekend, when they were passed by New Jersey.
"When you lose some games and the pressure mounts, and it's mainly pressure from within, it's hard to play, it's hard to relax, it's hard to coach," said Murray, who will remain as GM.
The pressure will surely build after their seventh loss in nine games and 15th in 22. They've lost three straight, though Jason Spezza's 25th goal prevented the Senators from getting shut out for the third consecutive time.
Knuble and Upshall scored in the third period and Jim Dowd also had a goal for the Flyers.
Knuble scored his 23rd goal only 41 seconds into the third for a 2-1 lead.
Upshall followed shortly after with an insurance goal, helping the Flyers win their second straight after a 10-game losing streak (0-8-2). Upshall grabbed the loose puck off a faceoff and took a shot on Ray Emery at close range. The puck bounced off Ottawa's goalie and was knocked over the goal line by charging Senators defenceman Wade Redden, who crashed into the net.
Spezza snapped a scoreless tie with a power-play goal early in the second. Spezza blocked goalie Martin Biron's view and deflected home Andrej Maszaros' shot from just inside the blue line.
Spezza turned his back to Biron and raised his arms in celebration, but Biron shoved him in the back. Spezza spun around and Biron pushed him again in the chest. Flyers and Senators converged in front for a brief skirmish.
Biron earned a roughing penalty, and Spezza was hit with a butt-ending major and was ejected.
Dowd tied it late in the period with a slap shot from the circle. The goal was Dowd's fourth of the season and first in 21 games.
Notes: Daniel Alfredsson, who leads the Senators with 35 goals and 75 points, said the coaching change hadn't sunk in yet. "It's still a bit shocking, to be honest," he said ... Vaclav Prospal (Flyers) and Martin Lapointe (Senators) each made their debuts with their new teams after they were acquired this week in trades ... Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov left the game with a bruised chest and did not return.