PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Reunited in Philadelphia, Alexei Zhamnov and Tony Amonte
have formed a dominant line.
Zhamnov and Amonte each had a goal and two assists, leading the Flyers to a
5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.
Zhamnov has seven points in six games with the Flyers since he was acquired
from Chicago last month to help fill the void at center created by injuries to
All-Stars Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau.
``He's great to play with,'' said Amonte, who spent six seasons with Zhamnov
in Chicago. ``He controls the puck so much, teams have to pay attention to
Kim Johnsson had two goals and an assist for the Flyers, who snapped a
three-game winless streak. Philadelphia came in tied with three other teams for
first place in the Eastern Conference. They remained tied with Tampa Bay, which
beat Chicago, but moved two points ahead of Ottawa and Toronto.
Robert Esche, who missed 10 games with a left knee injury, stopped 22 shots
to record his first victory since Jan. 31. His best save came when he smothered
a shot by Denis Arkhipov midway through the first period.
Scott Walker and Adam Hall scored for Nashville, which had a three-game
unbeaten streak snapped. The Predators hadn't lost to the Flyers since a 2-0
defeat on March 21, 2000, going 2-0-2 in that span.
``Our defensive coverage was soft,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ``Our
defensemen were not containing and our centermen were not doing a good job.''
Johnsson gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds in with his seventh
goal. He took a pass in the slot from Amonte and lifted it just under the
Simon Gagne set up the second goal with a pass to Amonte after a bruising
check on David Legwand along the boards freed the puck behind the net. Zhamnov
completed the tic-tac-toe passing play with a slap shot past goaltender Chris
Mason, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the first period.
``Those years we played together made us understand each other. I know
exactly where Tony is and I try to find him all the time,'' Zhamnov said.
Amonte's 18th goal just 1:24 into the second period gave Philadelphia a 3-0
lead. Johnsson scored a power-play goal in the third for his first multigoal
game of the season.
Walker snapped Esche's shutout bid with his 21st goal midway through the
third period. Hall cut it to 4-2 with 7:29 left.
Sami Kapanen had an empty-net goal for the Flyers.
``We didn't come out with enough fire to fight their energy,'' Mason said.