The Philadelphia Flyers acquitted themselves well during the traditionally treacherous trek through California and look to wrap up a four-game, season-opening road trip on the right note Tuesday in Music City against the Nashville Predators. Finishing strong has been nothing new this season for the Flyers, who have outshot the opposition 49-20 in the third period.
“With all the guys we have who can skate (quickly), and with the skill we’ve added, I think that helps keep us fresh for the third period and allows us to continue to push and push and push,” said NHL Third Star of the Week Wayne Simmonds, who scored 44 seconds into overtime in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Anaheim. The 29-year-old is off to a hot start by scoring four times after leading the club following his 31-goal campaign in 2016-17, including a two-tally performance in a 4-2 triumph in Nashville on Dec. 4. While Philadelphia has received positive results on its season-opening road trip, Nashville hasn’t been as fortunate with its two-game trek and hopes a bit of home cooking can take the taste out of its mouth after Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals. “It’s always a tremendous atmosphere at home, but we need to give our fans a reason to be noisy,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said Monday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, NBCSN Philadelphia, FSN Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (2-1-0): While Simmonds has impressed on the team’s second line, it’s the fourth line consisting of Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier and Michael Raffl that has captured his eye. “They’re unbelievable,” Simmonds told Philly.com of the group that has combined for 19 shots. “They’ve been in the other teams’ zone the whole time. I don’t think they’ve been in their (own) zone once in three games.” The fourth line has yet to score, however, and the team’s power play has failed on all 10 attempts in the last two games after going 3-for-5 in a season-opening 5-3 win at San Jose.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (0-2-0): Former Flyer Scott Hartnell is looking to avenge a tough outing on Saturday in which he had three minor penalties and a 10-game misconduct in Nashville’s loss to the Penguins. “Looking forward to getting two points and kick the Flyers’ butt,” said the 35-year-old Hartnell, who has seen his career come full circle after entering the NHL with Nashville 17 years ago. Pekka Rinne, who has been with the Predators for the duration of his career, turned aside 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Dec. 19.
1. Nashville will unveil the 2017 Western Conference championship banner prior to Tuesday’s game.
2. Philadelphia acquired G Dustin Tokarski from Anaheim for future considerations and promptly sent him to Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League.
3. Predators F Kevin Fiala, who sat out versus Pittsburgh, is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
PREDICTION: Predators 3, Flyers 1