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Predators 5, Flyers 4: Flyers tease a loser point before just becoming losers

Flyers drop a back-and-forth affair in Nashville

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers lost a high-scoring, multi-fight game to the Nashville Predators tonight in Nashville. It’s what I would classify as yet another “fun” loss. It certainly looked like things might go their way this time, but victory was snatched away from them just shortly before the end of regulation, narrowly avoiding an overtime period, at least one point, and the potential of embarrassing themselves in a shootout again.

The last time these two teams met was just 10 days ago in probably the most significant game of the Flyers’ 2021-22 season. The Flyers defeated the Predators 5-4 that night, getting out to a strong start, falling behind, and then ultimately coming back late in the game to win it. Of course, they were buoyed by a packed Wells Fargo Center and a drive to send their longtime captain out on a win, not to mention the bonus of actually having Claude Giroux in the lineup. Tonight’s game script mirrored that game’s in a lot of ways—the Flyers lead 3-1, fell behind 4-3, and tied the game at 4. Things ended a little differently, tonight though, as the Predators scored the ninth goal of the game this time, breaking the tie with just over a minute left and sending the Flyers off to Minnesota without a point in the standings.

Philly was lucky just to be in this one at all, as they were outshot 35-23 and had only 14 shots at the end of the second period. The Predators also recorded 74 shot attempts tonight compared to the Flyers’ 42.

First period

The Flyers struck first, just over two minutes into the game, on a great forecheck by Morgan Frost, who stripped Filip Forsberg of the puck in the Predators’ zone, showing some patience with the puck until a friendly jersey made an appearance, and found Travis Sanheim for the goal.

Besides the goal, the Flyers were getting buried for most of the first period. Through almost 15 minutes, Nashville had 21 shot attempts, with 8 going on net, to the Flyers’ 8, with just 3 on net.

Cam Atkinson took the game’s first penalty, a trip on Filip Forsberg as he was reaching around him from behind as he cycled behind the Flyers’ net with the puck. The Flyers killed off the penalty and somehow took that momentum into another goal, this time from Joel Farabee. Farabee gloved the puck off a rebound from James van Riemsdyk and stepped through the slot before backhanding the puck past Juuse Saros.

The goal was followed quickly by a bout between Patrick Brown and Luke Kunin, sending them both to the box for the traditional five minutes.

The Flyers finished the period shooting an absurd 50%, with 2 goals on 4 shots and just 10 shot attempts. Meanwhile, the Predators were unable to solve Martin Jones in the early stanza on 14 shots and 30 attempts.

Second period

It didn’t take long for whatever the Preds’ coaching staff talked at intermission to set in, as Yakov Trenin deflected a shot from Roman Josi past Jones less than a minute in. It was Trenin’s 16th goal of the season and it extended Josi’s point streak to 13 games.

The Flyers answered right back when Max Willman blocked a point shot from Matt Benning, then lobbed the puck up over Benning and beat him to it, giving himself a breakaway on Saros, which he finished with a nice roof over Saros’ blocker.

A cross check from Hayden Hodgson sent the Predators to their second power play of the game, where they once again failed to score. They would score, however, a few minutes later one a 2-on-1 that began after Keith Yandle misplayed a puck at the blue line. Mikael Granlund waited out Kevin Connauton, who dropped to the ice and Granlund sauced a beautiful pass just over his body that came right down on Yakov Trenin’s stick, where he deposited into the goal.

The Predators made good on those lopsided shot numbers less than a minute later, tying the game on a backhand shot from Luke Kunin off a rebound.

The Flyers found their first power play of the game, an interference call on Alexandre Carrier, who tied up Oskar Lindblom right off a faceoff. Nothing came of the penalty, but the Predators would score on the ensuing shift, a Filip Forsberg deflection off a shot from Carrier.

But the Flyers brought the game to evens again, with a one-timer from James van Riemsdyk off a pass from Travis Konecny less than a minute after the Predators’ goal.

By the time the six-goal second period ended, Nashville had the lead in shot attempts 55-25, in shots 28-14, and in scoring chances 29-11, but the score was exactly where it had been at opening puck drop.

Third period

The third period opened with Hayden Hodgson’s first career fight, a lively scrap with fellow former ECHLer Tanner Jeannot that preceded some 18ish minutes of scoreless hockey. The Predators had a big scoring opportunity on a 2-on-1 that ended with Forsberg lifting the puck just over the net, and the Flyers similarly had a strong chance on a Hodgson-to-Provorov-to-Hayes play where Hayes ended up with the puck just a little bit too low and had to fling it up at Saros from a bad angle. The Predators finally broke through with 1:19 left, with Jeannot deflecting a Josi shot past Jones, sending Jones to the Flyers bench for a Flyers 6-on-5 for the rest of the game.

Stray observations:

  • I’m not gonna act like I knew who Yakov Trenin was before this game, but after two goals tonight plus that name, I probably won’t forget him. If you were wondering, Trenin is a 25-year-old former 2nd round draft pick who has played in parts of two NHL seasons for the Preds before this one.
  • I heard at least two Foo Fighters songs play over the speakers in Bridgestone Arena. If you missed it, drummer Taylor Hawkins tragically died on Friday at age 50.
  • For our Claude Giroux watch; while he’s been hot in Florida so far, he doesn’t have a point tonight yet, as the Panthers trail the Maple Leafs 3-2 at second intermission.
  • The Academy Awards are on tonight—right now, in fact! I know the Oscars are niche, and people’s favorite criticism is that “no one cares” about them (which is the dumbest criticism about anything!), but I enjoy The Movies and I enjoy Cinema, so I will be watching along. Here’s my top 10 of the year, some of which has some overlap with the Academy’s Best Picture nominees: Licorice Pizza, Dune, Pig, The Worst Person in the World, CODA, In the Heights, Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar, Shiva Baby, C’mon, C’mon, and Titane. It’s looking a lot like it’ll go to Power of the Dog, which is also a worthy choice.

Stray stats:

  • The Flyers are now 14-8-3-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Nashville Predators. The Flyers have allowed the fourth-least goals per game to the Predators, second-least if you remove the two very recent expansion teams.
  • James van Riemsdyk’s goal gave him a point in four straight, tied for his longest streak of the season. Van Riemsdyk has felt largely invisible for long stretches this season, and this current streak—and 8 in his last 10—is coming at exactly the wrong time.
  • Ryan Ellis has 5 points this season, while Phillippe Myers has 4 and Cody Glass—who the Predators received for Nolan Patrick—has none. Patrick has 7 points for the Golden Knights this season.
  • With his 2 points tonight, Roman Josi now has 81 in 63 games this season, on pace for 105, which would be the most points by a defenseman since Paul Coffey scored 113 in 1988-89 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. There have only been six defenseman to score at least 100 points in a season.
  • Zack MacEwen has never scored points in consecutive games in his career, something that held true tonight following his goal in the Avalanche game on Friday.