Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds each scored twice, and the Philadelphia Flyers topped the Nashville Predators 6-3 on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The loss puts Nashville’s record at 24-20-8 with 30 games to play in the regular season.
“It was inconsistent through the night,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of his team’s play. “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 and be there from the start.”
Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, courtesy of goals from Matt Read and Brayden Schenn two minutes apart in the second half of the opening frame.
Ryan Johansen cut the Flyers lead to 2-1, when he scored his first goal at Bridgestone Arena as a member of the Preds at the 4:23 mark of the second stanza. Johansen received a slick pass from Roman Josi in the slot and snapped a shot past Steve Mason for his 10th tally of the season.
After goals from Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux gave the Flyers their third and fourth goals of the evening, Calle Jarnkrok brought the Preds back to within two before the period was out, as he capitalized on a James Neal rebound to make it 4-2. Johansen picked up a secondary assist on the play for his fourth multi-point game with the Predators.
Preds Captain Shea Weber blasted a shot from the point on the power play at 10:03 of the third period to bring the Preds to within one goal once more, but Simmonds and Giroux each added their second markers of the night before the contest was out to give Philadelphia the three-goal victory.
“We just have to be more consistent, and we’ve spoken about it all year,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “When we need timely things, whether it’s a goal or a penalty kill, whatever; we have to do our best to get that and obviously tonight it didn’t happen. We came back, we fought hard, just gave up too many chances. They have good players over there; they are going to make plays, and they capitalized on it.”
With the schedule continuing to shorten, the Predators are well aware that they need to find a way to produce victories on a consistent basis as springtime approaches.
“We are where we are,” Weber said. “We have to deal with it, and we have to find a way to win the games. Everyone in our situation is looking at it the same way. Our division is tight. It’s going to be tight right through and those top eight teams, or whatever it is, for getting into the wild card… You just have to get in and you see that anyone can win. That’s what we are focused on doing right now, it’s just trying to stick with the pack, climb the ladder and get in the playoffs.”
Gif of the Game:
Roman Josi pulls off a beautifully timed spin-o-rama. Broke ankles!
Ryan Ellis on capitalizing on their remaining home games:
“We looked at the last road trip as a big turning point going into it. We were struggling that month… We won four in a row, which is huge for us. It kind of got us back into the swing of things. Tonight, we’re at home and we have to win our games at home. We’re always good on home ice and today we didn’t have it. We are going to need the next two (games) before we head out again.”
Forwards Colin Wilson (Injured Reserve, lower-body), Eric Nystrom (Injured Reserve, lower-body) and Gabriel Bourque (Injured Reserve, upper-body) all missed Thursday’s game. Defenseman Anthony Bitetto was inserted into the lineup in favor of Petter Granberg.
Roman Josi has an assist in four of his last five games versus the Flyers (5a).
Nashville has two games remaining on their current home stretch, starting Saturday night against San Jose before finishing with Washington on Tuesday.
Ryan Johansen scores his first goal at Bridgestone Arena as a member of the Preds.
Infographic: Broad Street Tops Broadway