Better With Popcorn

Flyers put together complete effort in 4-1 win

The Philadelphia Flyers first game back from the All-Star break was underwhelming to say the least.

The team, as well as their opponents the Winnipeg Jets, looked less than enthused to be back at work.

Both teams failed to display any kind of chemistry as they limped into a shootout decided final of 2-1.

On Thursday night, the Flyers more than made up for their shortcomings on Tuesday by dominating the Nashville Predators, 4-1.

Utilizing speed, strength and chemistry, the Flyers put together their most complete performance of the season.

With energy guy Zac Rinaldo returning to the lineup, the team was forced to mix-up their line combinations. The result was Rinaldo joining Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

It turned out to be the team’s strongest unit.

From opening puck drop to the final whistle, the trio played a physical game that kept Nashville on their toes.

After generating several chances, the pairing found success 15 minutes into the opening period.

The play began at the half wall, where Schenn battled for a loose puck. After he knocked it free, Simmonds picked it up and made a b-line to the slot with a Nashville defender on his back.

Lacking any other option than to throw it on net, Simmonds spun and gave it his best shot. With Rinaldo standing in front, Predators goaltender Anders Lindback had no chance of seeing the fluttering shot.

“I really didn't see when he spun around,” Lindback said. “It was a good goal.”

In the second period, the Flyers had a golden opportunity when the Predators committed two careless penalties that gave the team an extended 5-on-3 power play opportunity.

Rather than ending the man advantage with a goal, the Flyers came away with a penalty of their own.

Despite having the second best power play unit in the league, the Predators found little success against the Flyers.

Largely stuck on the perimeter, the team failed to generate any real chances.

In fact, it was the Flyers who took advantage.

Despite, finding little success on their own power play attempts, the Flyers took advantage of Nashville’s.

Matt Read forced a turnover at the top of the defensive zone and skated in to face Lindback one-on-one. The rookie forward exploited the gaping hole left between the legs of the 6’6” goaltender to give the Flyers a two-goal lead.

With Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov playing an impressive game, it seemed as though the 31-year Old Russian was on his way to his second shutout of the season.

Unfortunately, the Predators capitalized on a coverage breakdown in the third to cut the lead to one with well over ten minutes to go in the game.

For Nashville, a team in the midst of a five-game winning streak, the contest was still within reach.

“If they come back and they get the next goal then you know what happens,” Simmonds said. “It's a two-two game with ten minutes left."

Just two nights earlier, the team had battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period against the Minnesota Wild, to comeback and win the game 5-4.

Coming to life after the goal, the team looked like they were determined to tie the game.

That is until Simmonds put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game with five minutes remaining.

“Opportunities like that we have to take advantage of and that's what we did,” Simmonds said. “We put a goal back up on the board and got the two goal lead back and that's huge.”

The biggest difference between Tuesday and Thursday was the Flyers desire to battle.

Whether it was physically, mentally, or on the scoreboard, the team continually stayed involved in the game and fought for all of their chances.

“I thought it was a great team effort tonight and a good victory,” Read said of the game. “Hopefully we can continue.”

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