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Yashin's Hat Trick Lifts Sens

Ottawa coach Jacques Martin had a simple explanation for the Senators' record-setting 5-0 victory over the slumping Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

"We created some turnovers and we had a great game from our best player," said Martin after Alexei Yashin scored three goals and Damian Rhodes got his 10th career shutout.

"Yashin played outstanding," added Martin after Ottawa recorded its 35th win to move past idle New Jersey into first place in the Eastern Conference by two points. The Senators, who won four of five games against the Flyers this year, had their previous season high with 34 wins last season. Ottawa is 7-3 in its last 10 games.

Daniel Alfredsson and Shawn McEachern also scored for the Northeast Division-leading Senators, who erupted for their final three goals in the last 2:55 to spoil the NHL debut and 21st birthday of Philadelphia goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier.

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"It's always nice to get a hat trick, but the credit has to go to my teammates, because they created the opportunities," said Yashin, who also had an assist on McEachern's goal.

Yashin, who has five career hat tricks, quickly gave the Senators a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game, skating from behind the net to jam the puck between Pelletier's leg and left post. Pelletier's leg appeared to get tangled up with the left skate of Flyers defenseman Daniel McGillis.

Yashin, who leads Ottawa with 32 goals and 71 points, also scored on the power play in the third period with a one-timer from right of the crease. With 53.2 seconds left, his shot from the slot bounced off Pelletier into the net to complete his scoring.

"Philly is a great team, but we didn't let them create chances," added Yashin. "We've been playing very good and supporting each other well."

Alfredsson scored on a backhander following a Philadelphia giveaway with 2:55 left in the game and McEachern put in his own rebound with 29.5 seconds remaining.

Pelletier made 24 saves after being recalled from the Philadelphia Phantoms on Wednesday in an effort by general manager Bob Clarke to shake up the Flyers, who have now lost a season-high five straight games and seven of their last eight.

"I'm disappointed that we lost, but I thought I did a decent job in my first game in the NHL," said Pelletier. "I know I can play in this league."

Philadelphia's regular goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, who has lost five straight starts, was benched. Backup Ron Hextall did not dress. But the Flyers' woes continued.

Philadelphia's losing streak is its longest since dropping six straight in February 1994. It was also Philadelphia's first home shutout loss since Boston won 3-0 on Dec. 3, 1997.

"It was pretty embarrasing for us out there tonight," said Philadelphia's John LeClair, who leads the NHL with 38 goals. "We're not executing properly, that's what's wrong. We have to get back to the basics and do the dirty work that we're not doing."

Rhodes, who made 24 saves for his second shutout of the season, was rarely tested, but made a pair of brilliant stops on McGillis late in the first and second periods.

The Flyers were blanked on four power plays, including a two-man advantage for 51 seconds in the first period when they could manage only one shot on net.

Pelletier is the youngest goaltender to appear in a game for the Flyers. He brought the sullen Philadelphia crowd to life with a brilliant mid-air glove save on a hard shot by Wade Redden in the second period.

Former Philadelphia winger Brian Propp, the club's second career goal scorer with 369, was inducted into the Flyers' Hall of Fame before the game.

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