Flyers cool off Predators in 4-1 win

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers cooled off the NHL's hottest team on Thursday night.

Simmonds scored two goals as the Flyers beat Nashville 4-1, ending the Predators' five-game winning streak and handing Nashville only its second loss in 11 games. Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves to earn his 175th career win, and the Flyers finally played just 60 minutes. They went to a shootout in their previous three contests, losing twice.

Simmonds, acquired from Los Angeles in the deal that sent Mike Richards to L.A., has outscored the former Philadelphia captain. Simmonds has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points despite spending most of the season on the third line. Richards has 14 and 12 for 26.

"His confidence is growing," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's a difficult person to get the puck from. He holds onto the puck and makes plays."

Ryan Suter had the lone goal for the Predators, who had been 13-2-0 since Dec. 28.

"I thought we came out and played hard," Suter said. "The first (goal) kind of deflected off a stick, but that stuff happens. We just have to battle through it."

In a battle of teams that entered the game second in their division and fourth in their conference, Simmonds gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 15:41 of the first period when his turnaround wrister went through traffic and past goaltender Anders Lindback. His power-play goal with 4:41 left in regulation restored the Flyers' two-goal lead -- he scored his 15th of the season by firing the rebound of Claude Giroux's shot behind Lindback.

"We got great depth," Simmonds said. "From lines one to four, anyone can score. It's great to have depth."

Lindback, Nashville's backup goaltender, got the start in place of Pekka Rinne, who has won 10 straight games and 13 of his last 14.

Giroux added an empty-netter as the Flyers earned a much-needed home win -- they are now 12-7-4 at the Wells Fargo Center.

After Simmonds' first goal, the Flyers missed a chance to expand their lead when they were unable to capitalize on a two-man advantage for 1:34 midway through the second period. But Matt Read made it 2-0 at 14:32 when he stole the puck from Kevin Klein near Philadelphia's blue line and started a breakaway. Read faked a pass to Harry Zolnierczyk and fired a slap shot from the left circle that went through Lindback's legs for his 16th goal -- tops among all NHL rookies.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Read's goal was huge.

"We kill a 5-on-3 and usually the team that makes the kill gets the momentum, but we gave it right back to them when they scored," he said.

Nashville's Craig Smith nearly tied it at 1 in the second period when his one-timer hit the post. Seconds later, Bryzgalov made the save on Smith's point-blank shot from inside the right circle.

Smith did help the Predators get on the board by setting up Suter's goal at 8:37 of the third period. Smith sent a crossing pass between Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros' legs to Suter, who scored his first goal in 27 games to get Nashville within 2-1.

But that was all the Predators could manage against Bryzgalov, who continues to improve after a shaky first half. His goals-against average is still 2.87 and his save percentage is only .898, but he has allowed just one goal in four of his last five starts.

"He looks really sharp," Laviolette said. "He's focused. He's worked really hard in practice and often that reflects in games."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
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