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Predators 4, Flyers 3, SO @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators' vast experience this season with close games and shootouts paid dividends again, this time against the novice Philadelphia Flyers.

Paul Kariya had a goal and an assist in regulation and then teamed with Steve Sullivan for a pair of shootout goals to give the Predators a 4-3 win over the Flyers.

It was the first time the Predators had beaten the Flyers in Nashville and marked the 200th victory in the history of the franchise. Nashville improved to 4-1 in shootouts while the Flyers lost their first.

``We were a little rusty not having been in a shootout,'' Philadelphia goalie Antero Niittymaki said. ``I was just late on Kariya's goal. He always does the same thing. He cuts across a bit, then you just have to hope you're quick enough to save it.''

Sullivan beat Niittymaki with a shot between his pads. Kariya decided to go high for his winner.

``Sullivan and Kariya are very dynamic players,'' Predators coach Barry Trotz said. ``He is a cerebral type of player. Kariya really studies the goaltenders. He has such a smooth, quick release. When you watch him and he lets the puck go you don't even know he is shooting it. He's an artist.''

Tomas Vokoun turned aside Philadelphia shooters Mike Knuble and Simon Gagne in the tiebreaker to give the Predators the milestone victory in their seventh NHL season. Vokoun stopped 30 real shots as the Predators won for the eighth time in nine home games.

``We are very fortunate that we are finding ways to win,'' Trotz said. ``We aren't winning by big margins. That is a sign of maturity.''

The Flyers took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 9:24 of the first period. With a crowd of players battling for the puck in the right circle, Michael Handzus found Knuble alone in the left circle. Knuble fired a wrist shot that beat Vokoun, who was watching the other side of the ice.

Just 20 seconds later, the Predators tied it when Kariya scored from the middle of the slot on a wrist shot that beat Niittymaki to his glove side.

The Flyers regained the lead at 8:04 of the second period. Philadelphia defenseman Derian Hatcher took a shot from a few feet inside the blue line that was deflected in by Mike Richards at the front of the crease.

Martin Erat tied it 2-2 at 13:30. Kariya passed the puck to Erat, who moved it from his skate to his stick and skated down the slot to beat Niittymaki.

Yanic Perreault gave Nashville its first lead with a power-play goal later in the period. Ryan Suter took control of the puck at the top of the slot and passed it to Perreault, who put a wrist shot over Niittymaki's left shoulder at 17:39.

The Flyers tied it 3-3 with a little over two minutes left in regulation. Hatcher blasted a slap shot from high in the slot that beat Vokoun.

``I didn't even notice their team,'' Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. ``We played great. I was really impressed with our effort. I think we played a heck of a hockey game.''

Notes: It was the first interconference game for both teams. ... Nashville has scored at least one power-play goal in 10 straight games. Nashville's Kimmo Timonen missed the game due to the flu. Kevin Klein was recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL and made his NHL debut. Ben Eager was in the Flyers lineup after being recalled earlier in the day from the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms.

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