Jan 15, 2012, 12:25 AM EDT
Not gonna get too deep in this one, in part because there’s not a whole lot to say. Pekka Rinne was a rock (a very fast and flexible rock) in net for the Predators, and Ilya Bryzgalov was once again unable to fight off some shots through screens and deflections. The Flyers played a decent game though, generating a lot of shots and some good scoring chances. The line of Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read, and Sean Couturier was the best on the ice, netting both of the Flyers’ two goals in a 4-2 loss.
The Flyers found themselves in an early hole after a first period Predators goal beat a screened Bryz on the power play. The deficit grew to two when Gabriel Bourque stripped Brayden Schenn of a bouncing puck in the high slot of the Flyers zone Sergei Kostitsyn and fed it to Sergei Kostitsyn. Kostitsyn ripped a shot through no less than four players moving laterally between himself and Bryzgalov, who didn’t have a line of sight on the puck until was passing him.
Couturier brought the Flyers to within one when he took a feed from Simmonds and went to his happy place, just off the dot in the face-off circle with his left-handed shot on the inside. Just as we’ve seen in his three goals in the previous games, he generated some good torque and ripped a wrist shot, beating Rinne just inside the far post. That’s four goals in four games and nine on the season for Couturier, who is increasingly hard to keep off the ice. He is the second Flyers rookie to score goals in four consecutive games this season, with Matt Read the first.
The Preds widened the gap at 4:30 of the third period though. Nick Spaling was credited with a goal after a puck caught him in the leg before appearing to be deflected on goal by a Flyer. Again, while it’s easy to see the goal totals continue to pile up when Bryz is in net, and like everyone else, we want him to find a way to stop them all, the Predators came full-speed into the zone, and Jordin Tootoo flung a puck toward that appeared to hit two players before scoring.
Midway through the third period, the Simmonds-Read-Couturier line made it interesting though. They pinned the Predators back in their zone, with Simmonds in particular buzzing around Rinne until finally he banged his twelfth of the season home.
That would be the end for the Flyers though. They showed good fight in the third period, just couldn’t beat Rinne again despite some solid opportunities. Mike Fisher finished off the game with an empty netter.
All in all, it’s probably a nothing-to-see-here loss on the road to a solid defensive team with a tremendous goalie who stopped 36 shots. The G Unit was quiet again, but the Predators were using their change advantage as best they could to ensure they had the matchups they wanted. Rinne was the star of the game, plain and simple.
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