If the Philadelphia Flyers are going to win their season-best third consecutive game Wednesday night, they'll have to do it against one of the hottest teams in the NHL - the Nashville Predators.
Simon Gagne scored twice and Antero Niittymaki made 29 saves to help the Flyers (7-14-3) to a 4-2 win at Montreal on Saturday, a day after a 3-2 victory over Columbus. Philadelphia has won two in a row for only the second time this season.
"We've been playing well as a team lately and hopefully these two wins turn things around and we'll win a lot more games," Niittymaki said.
The Flyers hope their modest recent success marks the beginning of a change in fortune that allows them to improve on the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is 4-2-1 in the last seven games.
The Predators (15-5-2) have had plenty of success since losing three in a row to start 2006-07. Nashville is 15-2-2 since then following a 6-2 victory over Central Division rival Detroit on Saturday and a 6-0 win over Vancouver on Thursday.
The Predators outscored their opponents 9-0 in the second period in the two games.
"One thing I liked about that was that when we got the second and third goals in the period we weren't satisfied," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We got them on the ropes. We had the killer instinct. We wanted to keep it going to see if they were going to break. And we were able to break them in the second period."
One of the highest-scoring teams in the Western Conference with 78 goals, the Predators have scored five power-play goals on 15 opportunities in the last two games, while killing off all 16 of their opponents' chances over the last four contests.
Nashville's power play has converted 19 times in 80 chances during its 15 victories.
The Flyers have allowed six power-play goals in 24 opportunities in the last five games, and may need another solid performance from Niittymaki, who's expected to start Wednesday after making 68 saves in the last two games. He last won three consecutive starts from March 18-25.
The goaltender dropped his only start against the Predators, making 32 stops in a 4-3 shootout loss Dec. 3, 2005.
Chris Mason made 32 saves for Nashville on Saturday to improve to 4-1-1 with a 2.47 goals-against average in seven games. Mason has taken over as the starter after Tomas Vokoun suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb Thursday. Vokoun is expected to be out 2-6 weeks after undergoing surgery Monday.
Michael Leighton will be Mason's backup.
"I've felt good so far this season," Mason said. "I just want to try to help the team. I'm going to hang in there and do my part while Tomas is getting better."