Predators Fall in Overtime to Philadelphia

Preds Logo2Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux could have a future in coaching. He certainly knows how to draw up a winning play.

Giroux had the idea and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere executed it, scoring a power-play goal with 52.0 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Flyers a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Wells Fargo Center on Friday.

The game turned when the Predators were called for having too many men on the ice at 2:40 of overtime. The Flyers called a timeout halfway through the advantage and that’s when Giroux commandeered the dry-erase board.

“[Assistant coach] Joey [Mullen] is not on the bench but he prepares the guys really well,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “That’s all the players and Joey. They did a great job.”

Coming out of the timeout Jakub Voracek carried the puck into the Nashville zone and curled to the point on the right side. He sent it to Gostisbehere in the center of the zone inside the blue line and he moved it to Giroux at the left dot. Gostisbehere cut down the middle and Giroux found him above the hash marks. His one-timer went through a Wayne Simmonds screen and past Rinne.

“We’re just trying to get some traffic, move around, make that forward not really see what’s going on behind him,” Giroux said. “Just trying to get some guys open. Whether it was [Gostisbehere or Voracek] open, I was going to try to make that pass. It worked so it’s good.”

Colin McDonald and Michael Del Zotto also scored for the Flyers (8-10-5) and Giroux had two assists.

It was a play almost exactly the same as the one Gostisbehere scored on in overtime Monday to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes.

“It was actually the same exact play that we were trying the first time around [on the power play against the Predators], but we cleaned some things up and we were a little more patient this time I think,” Gostisbehere said. “It was a great play by [Giroux] to draw that up and great entry by Jake and [Simmonds] got [Rinne’s] eyes.”

The goal was Gostisbehere’s third in seven games and second in overtime. He was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Nov. 14 to replace defenseman Mark Streit, who is expected to miss another month recovering from surgery to repair a detached pubic plate. But Gostisbehere’s play could force the Flyers into some tough decisions when Streit returns.

“It’s a fun ride right now and I don’t have any plans of getting off it,” Gostisbehere said. “I’ve never scored that many [overtime] winners in my life so it’s a surreal moment. But I’m going to keep going and I’m looking forward to New York [Rangers on Saturday].”

Goalie Michal Neuvirth made 33 saves, including a spectacular post-to-post stop on the Predators’ Eric Nystrom late in the second period with the game tied 1-1. Nystrom had an open net from the left slot on the rebound of Mike Fisher’s shot off a shorthanded rush, but Neuvirth leapt across and did the splits to stop Nystrom with 4:50 remaining.

Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist, and Fisher scored for the Predators (12-6-4). Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who played his 400th NHL game, made 33 saves.

The Predators, in the final game of a five-game road trip (1-3-1), forced overtime when Fisher jumped into the crease and banged in the rebound of a Forsberg shot with 20.0 seconds remaining in the third period.

But the Predators were unable to carry that momentum into overtime.

“It was a big goal for us at the time,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “We were pressing at the end. Had some chances. [Neuvirth] made some good saves. … Was good to get the extra goal and get to overtime, get the point.”

The Flyers took a 2-1 lead at 4:57 of the third on McDonald’s first goal of the season. Scott Laughton held the puck along the left wing boards in the Predators end and got it to defenseman Evgeny Medvedev at the point. His shot hit McDonald in front, and he fought off Nystrom to get to the rebound and slide it past Rinne.

Forsberg opened the scoring 1:44 into the game with his first goal in 17 games, one-timing a Mike Ribeiro pass into the slot past Neuvirth. It was Forsberg’s fourth goal of the season; he was tied for second among rookies last season with 26 goals. Against the Flyers, he had four shots on goal and three that missed the net, including a shot off the crossbar with the game tied late in the second period.

“I think it was only a matter of time,” Laviolette said. “He had lots of chances and looks in New York; Thought he played a real strong game versus the Rangers [on Monday]. Tonight he was shooting the puck well also. Was good for him to have a good first shift, they were humming in the offensive zone and were able to generate.”

The Flyers tied it at 4:00 of the first on Del Zotto’s first goal of the season. It was their first even-strength goal since the third period Nov. 17 against the Los Angeles Kings, a span of 261 minutes, 58 seconds.

It was the first time six games that the Flyers scored more than one 5-on-5 goal in a game. The Flyers entered Friday 30th in the League at 1.73 goals per game.

Nashville forward Gabriel Bourque missed the final two periods because of an upper-body injury.

The Predators return to Nashville on Saturday night for a 7 PM contest with Buffalo.  Thunder Radio will bring you that broadcast on the Fifth Third Bank/Nashville Predators Radio Network.