PHILADELPHIA — The Ottawa Senators had a shootout to savour to make up for a second period they wanted to forget.
Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Neil all scored in the opening period for the Senators in their first game since Monday. While the rest of the NHL played on without them, the Senators were reduced to helpless scoreboard watchers as they try to keep seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
For now, the spot is Ottawa's.
But they nearly squandered a big chance to earn two points.
"Our team does a good job of being resilient and showing a little character and coming back," Senators coach Paul MacLean said.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson was fantastic and flawless in overtime, stopping six shots over a thrilling five minutes during which the Flyers dominated in every way but on the scoreboard.
"We could have scored four or five goals there," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. "It just didn't drop."
Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier and Braydon Coburn evened it at 3-3 with goals in the second period for the Flyers. Matt Read scored in the shootout for the Flyers.
The Flyers know how to fall behind early and then rally with a vengeance. They did again in the second period with a three-goal effort sparked by a gnarly goal.
Brayden Schenn's slapper nailed Simmonds near his right eye and the puck shot into the net for a goal. Simmonds crumbled to the ice and needed assistance to the locker room. Simmonds, who does not wear a visor, later returned. Interviewed on TV at intermission, a helmetless Simmonds had caked blood and some fresh red streaks above his right eye and on his nose. His face was still stained red after the game and he needed seven stitches.
"I saw it coming, but there's not much I could really do," Simmonds said. Just trying to take the shot and it got deflected off."
Simmonds' toughness has made him a huge fan favorite. He was busted open by an errant puck in warmups last month, needed 25 stitches in his lips, then scored two goals.
The Flyers caught a break when Couturier's second effort to put the puck past Anderson was reviewed because Filip Kuba knocked the net from its base. After a lengthy review, the ref explained his decision — well, he did, but the mic was out and no one heard him. They all saw his signal that the goal was good and it was 3-2.
Coburn played close to the net and pounded in his fourth goal of the season late in the period to even the score.
Anderson stopped all 15 shots in the first only to allow three goals on 14 shots in the second. He had 36 saves.
"We do some crazy stuff sometimes to put ourselves in tough positions," Alfredsson said. "But more often than not, we've been able to come up with some kind of solution and big play at the right time. We never stop believing. It's a great group."
Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov, the hottest goalie in the NHL with a 10-2-1 record in March, sat out his second straight game because of a chip fracture in his right foot. He's listed as doubtful for Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.
The Flyers sure wished he was in net after Sergei Bobrovsky's wretched first period.
Alfredsson started the fun when he reversed the puck behind the net and dumped it to Spezza, who was waiting by the post and scored his 32nd.
Alfredsson, who scored two goals in each of the last two games, scored his 27th from the high slot. The Flyers tried to clear the puck, but Erik Karlsson intercepted the puck, and made the short side pass to Alfredsson who keep his scoring streak going.
Neil's 13th goal of the season was a simple shot from the circle that bounced through Bobrovsky's legs for a 3-0 lead. There was no doubt Bobrovsky should have stopped that puck and the Flyers fans erupted in boos.
Ottawa came inches from a 4-0 lead when a puck slipped behind Bobrovsky and trickled toward the goal line until a fast-moving Flyer poked it free.
With the result, the seventh-place Senators (40-28-10) edged closer to clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth. Depending on the result of Saturday night's game between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa could lock it up by beating the Islanders on Sunday in Uniondale, N.Y. (3 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200).
NOTES: The Senators are 3-6-1 in their last 10 visits to Philadelphia. The Flyers are 5-10-3 this season in games that start before 7 p.m. local time ... If Ottawa doesn't wrap up a playoff position this weekend, it could have a chance to do so on home ice Tuesday, when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200). Fewer than 1,500 tickets remain for that game.