The feel good Philadelphia Flyers are riding high coming into the third game at home on a five game homestand. They are absolutely on fire and lighting the league up in goals. The orange and black entered Thursday night’s contest against the Nashville Predators with 26 goals for and 16 goals against. That’s good for a goal differential of a plus 10, which is second in the league to the Chicago Blackhawks. Moreover, the orange and black entered the tilt second in goals per game to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers also came into the game looking for revenge after a 6-5 loss to the Predators on October 10.
Who knew coming into this feel good season for the orange and black, that they would be this good offensively? More importantly they have received solid goaltending from both Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott, which has aided the offensive side of the puck. Neuvirth stated after the game on Tuesday it gives him confidence to make big saves, with having guys playing well in front of him.
“Yeah, it is definitely nice to score five. Our power play is looking amazing right now, so is the penalty kill. I like what I see. You know what, I was fighting a little with the puck early in the game, but after a few saves, I settled down. I was coming in to the game with confidence not playing for long, but practicing well. Working out every day paid off. Guys in front of me played really well.”
Whatever the rhyme or reason for this possible storybook season is, the Flyers put together a heck of a game. Unfortunately, they came up empty handed in the 1-0 loss. Coming off a stellar game on Tuesday night, Neuvirth got the nod in net once again. He was nothing short of phenomenal making 25 saves in the loss.
Note: Right before game time. An injury was revealed to forward Jordan Weal. Jori Lehtera who has been a healthy scratch the past six games got his first taste of action. Matt Read was also called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Midway through the first period the Flyers were clicking on all cylinders. With the shots even at six with 2:48 remaining in the period. Colton Sissons took a roughing penalty giving the Flyers their first power play of the night. Unfortunately, the Flyers had trouble cycling the puck, and they didn’t register a single shot on net. Of course, the game remained scoreless.
The first period came to a close with the majority of play pretty even throughout the first period. This period was the period of the goaltenders as Pekka Rinne and Neuvirth both looked very sharp keeping the game scoreless. Neuvirth alone made at least two nice glovehand saves. The Predators out shot the Flyers 7-6 for the period, but the orange and black won the faceoff margin 87%-13%.
The Flyers entered the second period determined to take command of the game. Just 4:04 into the period, Anthony Bitetto took a tripping penalty. Again the Flyers couldn’t muster much on the power play, as the Predators did a good job on sealing off the passing lanes. Rinne made the lone save on Jakub Voracek’s slap shot keeping the game scoreless.
Things went from good to unknown for the Flyers after taking their first penalty. Radko Gudas took a hi-sticking penalty with 9:28 remaining in the period. The Flyers did well on the penalty kill only allowing one Predators shot. Neuvirth made the easy pad save to keep the game scoreless.
Late in the period, Filip Forsberg was called for an interference penalty. The Flyers had good puck movement on the ensuing power play, and they registered five shots on net. Rinne made all five saves keeping the game scoreless.
These young legs in the Flyers kept up with the defending Western Conference Champions in the second period. Both teams tied each other in shots for the period with 9. But, the Flyers won the faceoff margin 56%-44%.
Flyers head coach had this to say about Rinne following the period, “He is one of the guys in this league that has proven that he is one of the top guys. Tonight he was on. He was seeing the puck. He had a couple that hit him. He made a couple real good plays but he was in good position to make those saves.”
With the Flyers on a high, and the building rocking from the fans. The orange and black were caught on a 2-on-1 break with Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons entering the Flyers zone just 3:49 into the period. Fiala threaded a pass over to Sissons. Sissons wristed a shot over Neuvirth’s left shoulder for a 1-0 Predators lead. It was Sisson’s second goal of the year.
The Flyers were looking to solve Rinne late in the period. They were given a gift when Mikka Salomaki was called for hooking, with 7:12 to go in the game. The Flyers did manage one shot on net before Wayne Simmonds was called for interference 30 seconds after the power play began. His penalty off-set the Flyers power play, and the score remained 1-0 Predators.
Things seemed just about over for the Flyers when Viktor Arvidsson was called for a slashing penalty with 1:06 remaining in the game. However, the Flyers only mustered two shots on for the power play. Rinne made both saves to keep the shutout intact as the period came to an end.
The Flyers managed to outshoot the Predators 28-24 for the game. Moreover, the orange and black won the faceoff margin 56%-44%.
Following the game Neuvirth had this to say, “We’ve been scoring a lot of goals. We had really good chances tonight, but we couldn’t get one behind him. It was frustrating to see that, but like I said we gotta move on. We have another big game on Saturday.”
Furthermore, Hakstol was pleased with the Flyers play, “We missed two or three good chances where we didn’t actually get them on net. Where we had opportunities we made good plays. We had good chances in the third period. We had two or three good chances before they scored their first goal and we had at least six or seven maybe more after it was a one goal game. We made good plays in the third. We had scoring chances from good areas. We just couldn’t execute to get one past him.”
Unfortunately, the young legs in the fly guys could not muster anything past Rinne. He was just in the zone tonight as the Flyers did their best to put one by him. On the other end, Neuvirth was nothing short of amazing tonight. He made nice glovehand saves, and some pretty sprawling saves. The Flyers two game winning streak also comes to an end, as they look to rebound on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers at 1 pm.