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01/15/2012 12:13 AM EST
Rinne stops 36 shots as Predators beat Flyers 4-2
NASHVILLE 4, PHILADELPHIA 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Philadelphia Flyers don't visit
Nashville very often, and when they do they usually leave with a
Pekka Rinne made 36 saves and Nick Spaling scored the
game-winner as the Predators beat the Flyers 4-2 Saturday night.
Martin Erat, Sergei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher also scored for
Nashville, which won its fourth straight and seventh in the last
Rookie Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds had the goals for the
Flyers, who snapped a two-game win streak. Philadelphia is
winless in its last five trips to the Music City, with its last
victory coming March 21, 2000.
Trailing 2-0, Couturier cut the deficit in half with 7:42 to go
in the second period with a slick wrist shot from the right
circle that beat Rinne high to the glove side and tucked just
underneath the crossbar. Couturier's score gave him a goal in
four straight games.
"I thought our guys got the attempts," Flyers coach Peter
Laviolette said. "We turned things back in the direction we
wanted, and we didn't get the results. You play a couple of
games and get wins, but you want a better process though it, and
tonight, the process was a bit better."
Nashville regained its two-goal advantage at 4:30 of the third
when Jordin Tootoo's centering pass deflected off the shaft of
Spaling's stick and past Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
"It was a lucky bounce, but I will take it," Spaling said. "Our
game plan is to go to the net and funnel the pucks there. That's
the way we want to keep playing."
The goal was Spaling's third game-winner this season.
Simmonds pulled the Flyers to 3-2 at 9:55 as he outmuscled
Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis to get the rebound of
Couturier's backhand shot from the left circle and then poked
the puck past Rinne.
"It was kind of the same feeling all game; you were down one
goal, you were down two goals," Simmonds said. "We are a
resilient team and tried to come back, but we just couldn't come
Rinne made 15 saves in the first, 12 in the second, and nine in
the third to record his 23rd win of the season.
"Unfortunately they got that second goal and that gives a lot of
energy to your team, but after that, they really didn't have
anything," Rinne said. "They had a few chances here and there.
We did a really good job defensively."
Fisher's empty-net goal with 39 seconds to go sealed the
Erat gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with 57.7 seconds remaining in
the opening period. From the right circle, Erat's wrist shot
bounced in front of Bryzgalov before skipping over the goalie's
right shoulder. Nashville's Patric Hornqvist was just outside of
the goal crease providing a screen for Erat's shot, which gave
him a goal in five of his last six games against the Flyers.
"We had some good looks in the first period, and the funny thing
was we had all the good looks and some great chances, and the
one we scored on wasn't a particularly great chance," Nashville
coach Barry Trotz said. "It was a seeing-eye puck. (Hornqvist)
did a great job on screening Bryzgalov and Marty just sort of
put it there."
Kostitsyn made it 2-0 at 10:36 of the second. Just 10 seconds
after a penalty to Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn expired,
Kostitsyn's wrist shot from the high slot through traffic beat
Bryzgalov high to the glove side.
NOTES: Nashville rookie C Craig Smith missed his first game of
the season due to a flu-like illness. ... Fisher has points in
four consecutive games. ... Simmonds has points in
three-straight games. ... The Flyers are 7-2-2 against the
Western Conference this season with both regulation losses
coming against Central Division teams.
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