The Flyers fought hard for 60 minutes in their grudge match with the Predators despite ending up on the wrong side of a one goal shutout.
The first thing worth noticing is that both Wayne Simmonds and Shayne Gostisbehere were in Thursday’s lineup, both were questionable with injuries. As for the second, Jordan Weal was scratched with an injury, leaving an empty spot on the second line. Jori Lehtera filled in, it was his first game of the season.
The first period was very back and forth and fast paced. Both offenses created their own fair share of opportunities. The Flyers looked fast. Like really fast. Travis Konecny was all over the ice, he’s like the Energizer Bunny. Even though they ended the first period trailing in shots, the first period appeared to be all Flyers for the most part.
In the second period, the Flyers went 0-3 on the power play. The power play, which appeared to be the Flyers bread and butter in seasons (and games) past, was a non-factor on Thursday. However, in the second period they successfully killed off a penalty of their own. Travis Sanheim played a huge part in that. The rookie defenseman is making it hard for the coaches to keep him on the bench.
Enter the final period. The Flyers began the period with the man advantage (for one second). Three minutes and fifty seconds into the third period Andrew MacDonald mishandled the puck at center ice and the Predators took an odd-man rush into the Flyers zone, putting the puck behind a sprawling Neuvirth to take the lead. MacDonald will continue to be the scapegoat for angry Flyers fans, but aside from that mishap he actually played a decent game. The away game assistant captain should be held to a higher standard, but he also has his game scrutinized more than anyone else on the roster (except maybe Claude Giroux).
Nolan Patrick drew a penalty with a little over a minute remaining in the third, the Flyers had a 6-4 advantage and made nothing of it in the final minute. The Predators beat the Flyers for their first home loss of the year.
- The fourth line got a lot of playing time. They are a breath of fresh air compared to last year’s fourth line. They played well defensively and created some scoring chances offensively. Leier-Laughton-Raffl is a fun combination to watch.
- The second line looked bland. Lehtera-Filppula-Simmonds looked off for the most part. Chalk it up to Simmonds (probably) playing injured and Lehtera not being up to game speed, but this line was ineffective all night long.
- Like Caleb wrote after the last game, the first line is looking sharp. Giroux-Couturier-Voracek are on the same page. They look like a pretty cohesive unit. G looks revitalized out there. Expect big things from this line.
- Travis Sanheim played a good game both defensively, offensively, and on the penalty kill. He earned the third star of the game (behind Colton Sissions and Pekka Rinne).
- This lineup was hurting without Jordan Weal. He needs to get better soon.
- Michal Neuvirth has looked really solid between the pipes. He had a handful of clutch saves to keep the game close. One could argue that he deserved to be one of the three stars of the game. If he can stay healthy, he will start more games than Brian Elliott.
The Flyers return to action on Saturday at 1:00 at home against the Edmonton Oilers.