A goal from Colton Sissons and a shutout from Pekka Rinne gave the Nashville Predators their first road victory of the 2017-18 season, a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Sissons's second in as many games and Rinne's 44th career shutout extended Nashville's point streak to five straight to give them a 4-2-1 record and a season sweep of the Flyers.
A stark contrast to the first meeting between the two on Oct. 10 - a 6-5 win for the Preds - Thursday's outing was much more of a defensive battle with Rinne and the blueliners around him starring for 60 minutes, and all it took was one little break for Sissons to cash in.
After scoring 18 goals in their last three games, the Predators shut down Philadelphia's high-powered offense with a perfect 5-for-5 mark on the penalty kill, including a kill in the final minute of regulation with the Flyers net empty.
Nashville's challenge for Thursday's contest was slowing down an offensive unit for Philadelphia that had connected for 18 goals in their previous three outings. Even in a loss on Oct. 10, the Flyers scored five times on Pekka Rinne and the Preds in the teams' first meeting of the season, then followed up with eight goals against the Capitals (an 8-2 win) and five against the Panthers (a 5-1 win).
"Our main thing is to play tighter as a team and to make good decisions, and by no means are we a defensive team," Rinne said. "We play a fast game up and down the ice, but as a five-man unit, we've been better. That's been our focus, and then try to find that speed that we have. The first few games, we weren't able to generate that for some reason, but tonight, that's a great road game."
Video: Rinne, Sissons help Predators blank Flyers, 1-0
Nashville has allowed a single regulation goal (and one in overtime) in their last two road games (at Chicago and at Philadelphia) and the man between the pipes has been a major contributing factor.
Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne made 28 saves on Thursday night for his first shutout of the campaign. Always humble, the 34-year-old said following the win that "any shutout is a team effort."
Head Coach Peter Laviolette seemed to agree, saying the Predators have improved in each game following a sluggish start to open the season.
"We've gotten better every game," Laviolette said. "Tonight was more of a defensive grind than anything, but there was no big meeting that sent it in a different direction, we just weren't very good in the first game and not much better in the second game. It was just early in the season, a new group figuring it out."
Video: NSH@PHI: Rinne makes clutch pad save to rob Couturier
Two in a Row for Sissons:
Forward Colton Sissons found the back of the net for the first time in 2017-18 in the Preds 4-1 win over Colorado and followed it up with another score on Thursday night. A surprising star in the Predators 2017 postseason run, Laviolette praised the young centerman following his game-winning goal versus the Flyers.
"Colton plays in all situations for us," Laviolette said. "He's really come on strong in the second half of last year and beginning of this year, almost as a go-to guy."
Video: NSH@PHI: Sissons, Fiala connect for nifty goal
Tonight's victory was the Predators first road win of the season and marked their fifth consecutive game with at least a point.
With a sweep of the season series over Philadelphia, the Predators have defeated the Flyers twice in regulation in the same season for the first time in franchise history.
With his 44th career shutout, Pekka Rinne is now tied with Marc-Andre Fleury for fourth among active netminders in the category. Only three current goaltenders are ahead of Rinne and Fleury in shutouts.
Defenseman Yannick Weber (Injured Reserve) did not dress for Thursday's contest, but did take part in the team's optional morning skate earlier in the day. Forwards Nick Bonino (lower-body; day-to-day) and Pontus Aberg, as well as defenseman Sam Girard were scratched for the contest.
Next up for Nashville is their first matinee matchup of the season, an 11:30 a.m. (CT) start at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.