Goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 23 of 24 shots, but it wasn’t enough, as the one that got past him ended up being the difference in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators.
After a quick flurry by the Flyers to start off the game, Nashville tightened up defensively, and the game remained rather uneventful throughout the first 40 minutes. Three Flyers power plays in those first two periods generated a handful of shots on goal, but very few real scoring opportunities.
It wasn’t until the 3:49 mark of the third period when the ice finally was broken on the scoreboard. The Predators took advantage of a Flyers offensive zone miscue, and forward Kevin Fiala raced down the ice before dumping the puck off to teammate Colton Sissons, who beat Neuvirth on the blocker side.
After the Predators took the lead, the Flyers seemed to play with a little bit more urgency. They began winning more battles along the boards, and generated the kind of high percentage scoring chances that they didn’t have in the first two periods. However, Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne stood tall, stopping each and every one of them, including a nifty wraparound attempt by Claude Giroux with just over 5 minutes to go. Sean Couturier also created a great scoring chance when he danced around a defender and fired low on Rinne, but Rinne was able to make a kick save.
The Flyers had one last chance when Nashville took a penalty with 1:09 to go in the game. They pulled Neuvirth in favor of an extra attacker to make it a 6-on-4 power play, but it was to no avail as an errant pass by Couturier with 10 seconds to go sent the puck all the way back into the Flyers end and allowed the clock to run out.
“We had good scoring chances in the third.”, coach Dave Hakstol said. “Had some scoring chances from good areas. We just couldn’t execute to get one past (Predators goalie Pekka Rinne).”
With the loss, the Flyers’ two-game winning streak is history, and they now hold a record of 4-3. Next up is a visit from Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. That game will be at 1pm on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
WBCB’s Rob Gilmore contributed to this report.