OTTAWA - Andrew Hammond is having the time of his life and plans on enjoying it for as long as he can.
The Ottawa Senators goaltender, making his third straight start, stopped 27 shots in a 2-1 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night to improve his record to 10-0-1 in his first 11 NHL starts. He has allowed only 16 goals in those 11 contests.
Hammond is now one game away from tying Frank Brimsek's record set in 1938 of being the only goalie in NHL history to give up two goals or less in 12 straight games to start his career.
"It couldn't happen to a better guy within the room, a more humble guy," said Bobby Ryan who scored the shootout winner. "I hope he's enjoying the ride as much as we are because it's been a lot of fun. He's giving us a chance every night."
Known as the Hamburglar, Hammond now has fans throwing hamburgers on the ice in his honour.
"It's 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," said Hammond.
The Senators have now won their last three outings and are five points behind, with a game in-hand, the Boston Bruins for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the lone goal in regulation for the Senators (33-24-11).
Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers (29-27-15) as Ray Emery, making his first appearance since Feb. 19, faced 28 shots.
It was a highly entertaining third period as both teams looked to break a 1-1 tie.
Ottawa could only shake its head as Milan Michalek rang one off the post with seconds remaining in regulation. Curtis Lazar and Kyle Turris also missed fantastic opportunities, but the Flyers were just as unlucky as Matt Read was stopped midway through the period and Vorachek missed on a great back-door opportunity.
"It was a good smart game," said Flyers coach Craig Berube. "I thought we were in control all game. I thought (Emery) made some good saves when he had to and I thought we played pretty smart."
Berube's one complaint was the Flyers inability to score more goals.
Ottawa opened the scoring at the five-minute mark of the second as Pageau picked up a Mark Borowiecki rebound in mid-air and beat Emery in front of 17, 730 at Canadian Tire Centre.
Pageau— along with linemates Erik Condra and Lazar— have been one of Ottawa's best trios and coach Dave Cameron was happy to see the hard work rewarded.
"It's a great line from a coaching point of view," said Cameron. "They're so solid away from the puck that it's easy to get your matchups…you can put that line against any line.
"They're invaluable. All three play the same way, all three have real high hockey IQ's and probably the biggest strength of each guy and the biggest strength of the line is they have no weaknesses."
The Flyers created some good pressure of their own and were rewarded as Voracek beat Hammond glove side midway through the period.
Despite it being scoreless, the first remained entertaining as both Hammond and Emery made a number of big saves.
The Senators are back in action Tuesday night as they head to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.
Notes- D Eric Gryba and C Colin Greening were healthy scratches. LW Clarke MacArthur and Robin Lehner remain sidelined with concussions. The Senators were also without D Chris Phillips (wear and tear), RW Chris Neil (fractured thumb) and Zack Smith (fractured wrist). The Flyers were without C R. J. Umberger (abdominal, day-to-day) and D Michael Del Zotto (upper-body, day-to-day). D Brandon Manning and C Nick Cousins were healthy scratches.