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POSTGAME FIVE: Smashing Success

by Brian Smith | PhiladelphiaFlyers.com / Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back in an eventual 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators. First-period goals by Brayden Schenn and Matt Read gave the Flyers the two-goal advantage after one period. After Ryan Johansen cut the lead in half 4:23 into the second, Wayne Simmonds restored the two-goal lead at the 8:10 mark and Claude Giroux made it 4-1 with just under four minutes to play.  Calle Jarnkrok quickly reduced the lead back to two, and Shea Weber pulled the Preds within a goal with a power play tally halfway through the third. But Simmonds scored his own power play goal two minutes later, and Giroux added a second for insurance with 6:49 to play.  Steve Mason was outstanding with 37 saves on 40 shots, while Pekka Rinne stopped 13 of 19.

As the second period progressed, the Flyers had failed to score on an early four-minute power play and Nashville had subsequently cut the Flyers lead in half to 2-1 before going on a power play of their own that the Flyers killed. Momentum was threatening to swing further in the Predators’ favor when Shea Weber’s stick failed him at the Flyers blue line. When Weber went to the bench for a fresh stick, Wayne Simmonds took off, and Scott Laughton fired a pass from the top of the right circle in the Flyers zone all the way to the Predators blue line, hitting Simmonds in stride. Simmonds converted his own rebound to restore the two-goal lead.

1ST – Claude Giroux: His two goals both served to give the Flyers some much-needed breathing room, and he set up the third-period goal by Simmonds that answered the previous tally from Shea Weber that had pulled Nashville within a goal with 10 minutes to play.

2ND – Wayne Simmonds: His two extremely opportunistic goals kept the pace of the game in the Flyers’ favor, and he also assisted on Giroux’s goal.

3RD – Ryan Johansen: Recorded a goal and an assist while going an astounding 84 percent (16-for-19) on faceoffs in the game.

The Flyers have outscored their opponent 11-5 in the first period of the last nine games. Prior to that, they’d been outscored 36-17 in the first period of games this season… The Flyers had six goals on 19 shots. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Flyers had six or more goals on 19 or fewer shots was November 15, 2006 when they scored seven goals on 16 shots in a 7-4 win at Anaheim. Also per Elias, the Flyers had four goals on 13 shots through two periods for the first time since January 25, 2001, when they did the same thing in a 5-1 win at Chicago…Scott Laughton recorded his first career two-assist game and his second career multi-point game… The Flyers scored a power play goal for the sixth consecutive game. The power play is 9-for-25 (36 pct) in that stretch.

“[Shea Weber’s] stick breaks, I see him go to the bench, and as soon as he goes to the bench I just take off.  Laughts made a great pass… an unbelievable pass, actually.  Pekka Rinne, he made a great save, and I was lucky enough to put it in on the rebound.”

 (Wayne Simmonds)

 “It’s definitely nice to have that kind of support. It gives you a little bit of breathing room. But sometimes it’s a double-edged sword. When we have that kind of goal support, things tend to loosen up a little bit. As a goaltender you like to see the goals going in, but we have to tighten it up too.”

 (Steve Mason)

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