The Nashville Predators faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight on the road in a game with playoff significance to the Preds and emotional significance to the Flyers—team captain Claude Giroux was playing his 1000th game in the middle of a haze of trade speculation.
The Preds got off to a strong start with a great chance from Filip Forsberg, but the Flyers responded in kind. Both goalies were tested early. The lively back-and-forth exchange of chances and saves paused seven minutes into the period, as Michael McCarron and Zack MacEwan exchanged punches at center ice at the faceoff after the first commercial break, with McCarron getting the worse of the exchange.
Less than a minute later, the Preds gave up a 2-on-0, and while Juuse Saros was able to make the first save Travis Sanheim scored on a follow-up attempt. Very shortly after that Roman Josi took a very unnecessary boarding penalty, giving the Flyers a power play. The Preds were able to kill the penalty, but almost immediately it was Mattias Ekholm’s turn to take a penalty and they went back on the kill.
While shorthanded, though, the Preds were able to mount an attack, and less than halfway into their penalty kill Alexandre Carrier drew a penalty from Claude Giroux, putting the teams four-on-four. There was no further score
Tanner Jeannot started the second period off by tying the game with his 20th of the season. However, Matt Duchene took a penalty very shortly after, and Cam York scored on the ensuing power play for his team to make it 2-1 Flyers. They made it 3-1 shortly after.
However, Philippe Myers was able to get the Preds back within one, receiving a great pass from Josi to score his first goal as a Predator against his former team. A few more penalties ensued with first Colton Sissons and then MacEwen heading to their alternate penalty boxes, but neither team scored on their power play opportunity.
As the period went on, the Preds began to rally, and eventually a Konecny high-stick against Dante Fabbro that drew blood gave the Preds a double power play that Ryan Johansen scored on with four minutes remaining in the period to tie the game at 3.
Early in the third, Filip Forsberg tied Viktor Arvidsson’s single-season goals record with a spectacular between-the-legs goal and giving the Preds a 4-3 lead. Josi’s assist on that goal, his third of the night, broke Paul Kariya’s 2006 record for assists in a single season: a fairly momentous goal, game score aside.
The Preds continued to press the attack for the first half of the third, but with under seven minutes remaining a failed clear gave the Flyers what seemed like a chance to tie the game, when Saros looked like he’d made a save but did not have the puck anywhere. John Hynes challenged the goal for a missed stoppage for a puck played with a high stick, and the goal was overturned. The Philadelphia crowd greeted this decision with their characteristic equanimity.
With 5:43 remaining in the third, coincidental minors were called against Mattias Ekholm (for hooking) and Joel Farabee (for trapping Ekholm’s stick against his body and dramatically falling to the ice). Kevin Hayes scored on the four-on-four to tie the game at 4 for real, with no video review coming to save the Preds’ lead this time.
Flyers forward Morgan Frost caught a puck to the head from his own teammate and went down to the ice, but stayed out on the bench instead of going down the tunnel. Not long after that, and with under two minutes left in regulation, the Flyers regained the lead on a goal scored by Joel Farabee off a great pass from Hayes.
Although the Preds pulled Saros, they were unable to tie the game again.