Josi, Weber lead Predators past Flyers for shootout win

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Roman Josi grabbed the extra point for Nashville in the seventh round of the shootout and Shea Weber had three points tonight, as the Predators edged out the Philadelphia Flyers by the score of 4-3 in a shootout. Former Adirondack Phantom Carter Hutton stopped 27 shots in regulation and overtime before he helped to keep five of the seven Flyers to shoot in the shootout from converting, while David Legwand had a goal and an assist in the victory.

As for the hosts, Wayne Simmonds produced the game-tying goal with 1:24 left in regulation to grab a point for Philly, as the forward recorded a three-point game. Andrej Meszaros had a goal and an assist, while Steve Mason suffered the loss despite stopping 34 shots over 65 minutes and stopping four of Nashville’s seven shooters in the shootout.

After 60 minutes of regulation and five overtime minutes, the Predators and Flyers went to a shootout to decide the second point in tonight’s contest. In the first four rounds the Flyers failed to score, as the group of Vincent Lecavalier, Claude Giroux, Michael Raffl, and Matt Read couldn’t solve Hutton. Luckily for the Orange and Black, the cast of Craig Smith, Legwand, Seth Jones, and Gabriel Bourque couldn’t beat Mason.

In the fifth and sixth rounds, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier scored for Philly, while both Matt Cullen and Ryan Ellis beat Mason. In the final round of the elongated shootout, Hutton gloved a Simmonds’ attempt and Josi beat Mason to conclude the affair.

The Flyers entered the third period tied at two with the Predators, but a double minor on Nicklas Grossmann for high sticking led to Weber releasing a bomb past Mason on the power play to put the visitors ahead with 14:50 left in regulation.

The home team fought back and took advantage of a Mike Fisher slash late, as Simmonds redirected a Scott Hartnell shot up and over Hutton to even the tilt at three goals apiece.

For a fourth straight game, the Flyers came out and didn’t provide a strong effort, as the Predators were able to cycle throughout the contest. Nashville dictated all of the second period and produced two goals in the opening stanza, but the Orange and Black still managed to enter the final 20 minutes tied. It may have been a home shootout loss, but the Flyers were lucky to come out of tonight with a point.

Philly didn’t help their case tonight, as they turned the puck over often in their own zone and just seemed to be out of it at times while defending. Lengthy shifts spent in the defensive zone were extended thanks to lazy turnovers that often led to great scoring chances for Nashville. Fortunately for the Flyers, Mason provided a few crucial saves and the Predators didn’t take advantage of all their opportunities.

Special teams weren’t played poorly by the Flyers tonight, but they did hurt Philadelphia in the long run. The Predators scored two power-play goals, as one came immediately after a long 5-on-3 advantage in the first and the second came during a four-minute man advantage. Simmonds’ equalizing goal did come on the power play to make the unit one for four on the night.

Playing against a team that struggles greatly when trailing first, the Flyers did what they had to and jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a Schenn tally just 1:26 into the game.

After Meszaros received the puck at the point to Hutton’s right, he dangled his way to the middle of the circle before passing it to Simmonds in the slot. Simmonds didn’t get all of his shot, but the attempt resulted in Brayden slamming home an easy rebound for his 13th of the season.

The Predators tied it around the halfway point of the period, when Eric Nystrom redirected a pass from Bourque, who was along the side boards to Steve Mason’s left. The chance came after strong cycling from the line of Nystrom, Bourque, and Cullen, but it didn’t hurt when Raffl elongated the pressure with a bad turnover in the corner to Mason’s left.

Nashville grabbed the lead less than six minutes later, as Legwand put home a power-play goal for his eighth of the season.

After a bad turnover from Jakub Voracek in the defensive zone led to Giroux tripping Legwand, Kimmo Timonen took a bad boarding minor on Josi in the corner to put the visitors on a 5-on-3 for 1:18. Although the Orange and Black prevented a goal against while down two men, Legwand deposited a cross-ice pass from Fisher seconds after Giroux exited the box and started skating towards the play.

The score remained 2-1 in favor of Nashville at the close of the first period and remained that way throughout almost the entire second period, as the Predators outshot Philly 14-8 in the middle frame. However, the Flyers’ final shot of the period came from Meszaros, who beat Hutton’s blocker high with 3.6 seconds left to equalize the tilt at two.

Minutes before the Meszaros goal, Hutton made an amazing save on a Raffl attempt in the slot. A funny bounce led to the puck bouncing into the slot and Hutton being caught behind the cage. It looked as though Raffl’s shot was slightly altered, but the fact Hutton was able to bolt to the front of the net and make a diving catch on the shot was ridiculous. It let the Predators hang on to their 2-1 lead for just a little bit longer.

Despite the Flyers were grossly outplayed in the second period, Meszaros’ ability to create a chance out of nothing and score on the opportunity allowed the Flyers to enter the final 20 minutes tied.

The Flyers will look to rebound on Saturday, as they host the New York Islanders.

Notes: Philly dropped to 3-4 in shootouts this season. They are also 4-5 in games past regulation this year…Tonight marked the Flyers’ first shootout loss at home this season. It’s their first shootout loss at home since a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on March 28th last season…The Flyers dropped to 5-10-1 when trailing after the first period…Nashville improved to 4-19-3 when allowing the game’s first goal and 15-1-1 when leading after 20 minutes…Paired with his performance against the Buffalo Sabres, Simmonds has one goal and four assists in the Flyers’ last two games. He is also plus-2 in that span…With an assist tonight, Hartnell has a goal and three assists in his last two games…Meszaros recorded his second multi-point game in his last five games and ended a 13-game goal drought tonight…Simmonds recorded his 98th NHL goal tonight…Steve Downie had two hits and a blocked shot in 10:38 TOI in his return…Jones was minus-2 with two hits and two blocked shots in 23:26 TOI…Tonight’s win snapped a five-game road losing streak for the Predators…The Flyers dropped to 1-0-1 on the season against the Predators. They are now 8-7-2 against the Western Conference and 3-4-2 against the Central Division…Philly dropped to 24-19-5. They were 23-22-3 to conclude their 48-game shortened season…After 48 games last season, the Flyers were 10th in the Eastern Conference and six points out of a playoff spot. This season, the Flyers are fifth in the Eastern Conference after 48 games and are in a playoff position.