The Nashville Predators welcomed an Eastern Conference adversary to the Bridgestone Arena Saturday night, one that hasn’t visited Nashville since March 16, 2010 (the Predators won 4-3 in OT). Of course, you know we are talking about the Philadelphia Flyers, who, in all seriousness, have had a pretty decent season thus far. Even though they fell to the New York Rangers in Philly for the Winter Classic and lost 4-2 against the Predators last night, the Flyers are still 26-13-4 and are 2nd in the Atlantic Division. However, Winter Classic team and 2nd in their division didn’t scare the Predators too much last night and it sure didn’t scare the sold-out crowd in Smashville, either.
- Jack Hillen was scratched once again last night, starting the rumor mill. We aren’t getting into any speculations with that one as of right now. Jerred Smithson is still on the IR and Craig Smith was scratched due to being “under the weather”. Hopefully, he will be back to par when they face the New York Islanders tomorrow.
- Both the Flyers and the Predators came out strong, with the Predators taking what looked to be the lead with a goal from Nick Spaling. However, the goal was revoked due to a kicking motion from Gabriel Bourque, leaving an even playing field for both teams once again.
- Martin Erat would land a goal at 19:02 on the power play, with assistance from Captain Shea Weber and Alternate Captain Mike Fisher. Patric Hornqvist screened the play well, making it easy for Erat to slip it passed goalkeeper Ilya Bryzgalov.
- The Predators continued to up the score 2-0 with a powerful shot from Sergei Kostitsyn at 10:36 in the 2nd period. This was SK74’s 10th goal of the season, and it seems after his Hat Trick, shooting is becoming second nature to the Belorussian. He was assisted only by rookie Gabriel Bourque.
- The Flyers did not waste any time gaining points on the board, slipping one passed Pekka Rinne just two minutes after Sergei’s intense shot.
- Nick Spaling would put the Predators up 3-1 early in the 3rd at 4:30 with assistance from Jordin Tootoo and Kevin Klein. As you are all aware, when Spaling scores, the Predators haven’t lost in regulation as of this season…
- Wayne Simmonds would give the Flyers their final goal of the night at 9:55 in the 3rd period. Ryan Ellis helped Simmonds live up to his “Flyers” name after hip checking him into the air. The small stature rookie isn’t afraid to take on the bulkiest of opponents, and here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it:
- Mike Fisher would let the final Predators goal slide into the empty net at 19:20, with assistance from Sergei Kostitsyn and Martin Erat, sealing the game (and Frosties) for the Predators.
- The Flyers out-shot the Predators 38 to 25, with Pekka stopping 36, proving to the Eastern Conference the Predators are stiff competition. The Predators also were given more power play time, but only used one of three to their advantage. The Flyers were given two power plays, but the Predators’ defense prevented them from capitalizing on both. Here are your two Preds who held up in the box:
- Martin Erat – 15:07 2nd Period – Holding
- Colin Wilson – 11:35 3rd Period – Tripping
Although the Philadelphia Flyers are not regulars on the Predators schedule, it is always a boost to the ego to demolish a well-known, beloved team like Philadelphia. Not only does it look good for the Predators, it makes the Eastern Conference (and Western, of course) give the Predators a second glance, which is all that is needed.
The Predators are off to New York tomorrow to take on the New York Islanders at a rare noon start game. After that game, the Predators skip over to the Rangers at 6:30 on Tuesday night. Both games will be televised and, of course, on 102.5 THE GAME!