Flyers Fall To Predators in Shootout, 4-3

Published on January 18th, 2014

By Anthony Mingioni

PHILADELPHIA-The Philadelphia Flyers have been known for late game magic recently but on Thursday night they were unable to finish off their comeback efforts against the Nashville Predators, suffering a 4-3 shootout loss after a final goal by defenseman Roman Josi beat goaltender Steve Mason.

An area of concern for the club had been their slow starts of late. Their start in this one was anything but as second line center Brayden Schenn scored a mere 1:26 in to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

Schenn’s 13th goal of the season was a tap in made possible by the strong play of right winger Wayne Simmonds.

However, as the period wore on, Philadelphia was unable to maintain that momentum. Predators forward Eric Nystrom tied the game by crashing the crease area, picking up the puck from Gabriel Bourque and getting one past Mason.

The Flyers’ play began to noticeably lag and the Predators began to initiate their physical presence along the boards, luring the home team into seven first period giveaways.

“They had a couple cycle shifts and then we took a couple penalties, they scored,” Flyers head coach Craig Berube said. “Even before that though they had some cycles that I thought we didn’t do a very good job of eliminating. Too much time in our end.”

At the 16:35 mark, the Predators’ power play helped them grabbed the lead, converting a five on three goal (with defenseman Kimmo Timonen and center Claude Giroux in the box). Center David Legwand hovered near the left post and waited for an opportunity to sneak in. As the Nashville forwards began collapsing the Flyers penalty killing formation, Weber found Legwand with a crisp pass and the long time Predator whipped a shot high past Mason’s blocker.

The second period was dominated for the most part by the Predators who beat the Flyers to loose pucks regular and harried them along the boards. If not for Mason’s performance during that period, the score might’ve been much worse for the home side.

“We didn’t really play good defensively, we knew that,” said defenseman Andrej Meszaros. “I think they played great.  We just have to be better defensively and take care of the puck in our zone and we’re gonna get our chances and when we do we’re gonna score.”

You won’t find more sensational saves this season than the one Predators’ goalie Carter Hutton was able to pull on Flyers’ forward Michael Raffl. While Hutton was behind the net on a scramble, the puck came out to a charging Raffl who had a clear look at a wide open net.

Somehow, Hutton came back across the goal mouth and stopped Raffl with a sliding glove save, leaving the Austrian forward to look skyward in absolute disbelief.

With a mere 3.6 seconds remaining in the second period, the Predators committed what is normally considered one of hockey’s cardinal sins as Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros pinched into the attacking zone behind Schenn and winger Wayne Simmonds.

As Simmonds turned, he heard Meszaros call for the puck. A quick pass and high wrist shot eluded Hutton to tie the game at two.

The Flyers started the third period with plenty of offensive pressure but were unable to solve Hutton, whose glove was very active.

Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann then clipped Predators forward Patrick Hornqvist with a high stick, earning a four minute double minor at the 3:27 mark.

The Predators power play would once again make the Flyers pay as Weber unleashed a howitzer powered point shot past Mason to stake the road team to a 3-2 lead.

The pace of the game began to pick up as both teams began to take chances. Nashville maintained a physical edge during the period but Philadelphia came agonizingly close on a Matt Read shot that somehow caromed wide off Hutton and rang off the left post.

Mike Fisher took an ill-advised slashing call at 16:56 and the Flyers began pressing their power play attack. Finally after Mason was pulled and the Flyers worked their advantage to six on four, Simmonds was able to finish a double deflection with the help of linemate Hartnell and a low, accurate perimeter shot by Timonen.

Both teams attacked during the overtime period but were unable to beat either goaltender.

In the shootout, eight attempts were made before Brayden Schenn was able to fire a hard wrist shot past Hutton. But the Predators’ Matt Cullen used some nifty stickwork to finally crack Mason.

Couturier fired a hard wrist shot that would beat Hutton but slick skating defenseman Ryan Ellis responded with a smooth backhand goal to tie it again.

Simmonds, the hero of regulation play with a goal and two assists, was unable to score, leading to the eventual game winner from  Josi.

Philadelphia will play the New York Islanders on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers and Predators battle | Source:  Andrew King

Flyers and Predators battle | Source: Andrew King

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