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Flyers visit Predators, aim for third straight win

Power play humming for Philadelphia

by Robby Stanley @RStanley247 / Correspondent

FLYERS (22-18-8) at PREDATORS (24-19-8) 


NASHVILLE - The Philadelphia Flyers will begin a stretch of three games in four days when they face the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Philadelphia is looking for its third consecutive win, but is going up against a Predators team with a lot of talent on defense.

"They're a pretty intense team," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "I think they have a good structure and also they have a lot of good defensemen, so it's going to be important for us to kind of have our head on a swivel tonight and know where those guys are."

Philadelphia's power play has been effective lately with at least one power-play goal scored in five consecutive games. The players credit their puck movement as a key to its success. 

"Keeping it simple, moving it around," Giroux said. "I think when we move the puck around to each other and when we work together, I think that's when we're pretty dangerous." 

Nashville has limited opponents to one goal in each of its past five games, the longest such stretch in team history. 

"We've done a good job of staying tight," Predators forward Craig Smith said. "I think we're not really giving much as far as space and time. I think we've done a good job of taking away some of that. That helps with turnovers. I think since we're so tight, they can't get much." 

The Predators went 4-0-0 on a Western Canadian road trip prior to the All-Star break, thanks in large part to the play of goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton. Rinne had another strong effort in a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. 

"I think our goaltending was really good on the road trip," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "[Rinne] played excellent, Carter Hutton got a start. He did a really good job. The penalty kill did a really nice job. Defensively, I think we've been doing a really good job as a team in front of our goaltenders." 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Jakub Voracek - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds  
Sam Gagner - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn  
Michael Raffl - Scott Laughton - Matt Read  
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White  

Michael Del Zotto - Shayne Gostisbehere  
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit  
Evgeny Medvedev - Radko Gudas  

Steve Mason  
Anthony Stolarz 

Scratched: Brandon Manning, Jordan Weal, R.J. Umberger  
Injured: Michal Neuvirth (lower body) 


Mike Ribeiro - Ryan Johansen - James Neal  
Filip Forsberg - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith 
Viktor Arvidsson - Calle Jarnkrok - Cody Bass  
Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Austin Watson  

Roman Josi - Shea Weber  
Barret Jackman - Ryan Ellis  
Mattias Ekholm - Petter Granberg  

Pekka Rinne 
Carter Hutton 

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto  
Injured: Colin Wilson (lower body), Eric Nystrom (broken foot), Gabriel Bourque (upper body) 

Status report: The Flyers will go with the same lineup as they had Tuesday in a 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens. … The Predators held an optional morning skate. … Rinne is expected to start for Nashville. 

Who's hot: Simmonds has four goals and one assist in his past three games. … Rinne has allowed one goal per game in his past four starts.

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