Simmonds, Giroux help Flyers defeat Predators
Mason makes 37 saves, Philadelphia wins third straightby Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent
NASHVILLE -- Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux each scored two goals to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-3 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
Goalie Steve Mason made 37 saves for Philadelphia (23-18-8), which has won three games in a row.
"It's definitely nice to have that kind of [goal support]," Mason said. "It gives you a little bit of breathing room, but sometimes it's a double-edged sword when you 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 also have to tighten it up too."
Ryan Johansen, Shea Weber and Calle Jarnkrok scored for Nashville (24-20-8), which has lost two games in a row after winning four straight heading into the All-Star break.
The Flyers had 19 shots on goal; it was the first time they scored six or more goals on 19 or fewer shots since a 7-4 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 15, 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"We made the most of our chances," Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol said. "We had good goaltending on our side of things, and that gave us the opportunity to go to the other end and make some plays and capitalize."
Matt Read gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 13:51 of the first period on a breakaway. After taking a pass from forward Scott Laughton near the red line, Read got behind the Predators defense and beat goaltender Pekka Rinne for his ninth goal.
Brayden Schenn put the Flyers ahead 2-0 when he scored at 15:49 of the first on a redirection from right next to Rinne. He took the pass from center Sean Couturier and angled the puck past Rinne for his 14th goal.
Video: PHI@NSH: Voracek and Giroux connect to extend lead
Johansen scored to make it 2-1 at 4:23 of the second period. Defenseman Roman Josi hit Johansen with the pass, and his shot from the slot beat Mason for his 10th goal.
"It was inconsistent through the night," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We talked about our urgency and our will to win and where the level needs to be, especially going into the first period. I don't think it was there. When we got behind, we seemed to fight a little bit harder, but it needs to be more consistent, be there from the start."
Simmonds gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead at 8:10 of the second on a breakaway. Weber's stick broke on a shot, allowing Laughton to hit Simmonds with a pass to send him in alone against Rinne. The Nashville goalie made the initial save, but Simmonds scored on the rebound.
"[Weber's] stick breaks, I see him go to the bench," Simmonds said. "As soon as he goes to the bench, I just take off. [Laughton] made a great pass, unbelievable pass actually. Pekka Rinne made a great save, and I was lucky enough to put it in on the rebound."
Giroux gave the Flyers a 4-1 lead with 3:45 left in the second on a one-timer from the slot. He took the pass from forward Jakub Voracek and shot it past Rinne for his 15th goal.
"I think we've played better defensively, so we're not in our zone as much," Giroux said. "We have players to make plays to score goals, so it's not like we're focusing on scoring goals. We just want to play the right way, and when we do that, we're going to get chances."
Video: PHI@NSH: Simmonds extends lead to 5-3 with tip-in
Jarnkrok scored 25 seconds later to make it 4-2, and Weber's 13th goal made it 4-3 at 10:03 of the third period. Josi delivered the puck to Weber, who one-timed it past Mason with Nashville on the power play.
Simmonds scored his second of the night, sixth in four games and 18th of the season at 12:01 of the third on a deflection in front of the net on the power play. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took the initial shot from the point, and Simmonds tipped it past Rinne.
"I'm just trying to go to the net with my stick on the ice and shoot as many pucks as I possibly can," Simmonds said. "It doesn't hurt that I'm playing with two great players (Giroux and Voracek) either. The team has been doing really well. We just hope to continue it."
Giroux scored to make it 6-3 at 13:11 of the third period on a one-timer on the rush. He took the pass from Voracek and one-timed it past Rinne for his second goal of the night and 16th of the season.
Couturier left the game with 2:04 left in the second period because of an undisclosed injury. He did not return.
Couturier missed three games leading up to the All-Star break because of a lower-body injury. General manager Ron Hextall said the Flyers will have an update on the 23-year-old on Friday.