(SportsNetwork.com) – The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten off to a great start
on their epic eight-game trip and will try to keep that momentum going on
Saturday night against their former coach.
The Flyers eye a fourth straight victory as they visit Peter Laviolette and
the Nashville Predators.
Philadelphia scored 16 goals in defeating Toronto, Winnipeg and Minnesota to
begin this road trip, which runs through Jan. 3. That has the Flyers on their
first three-game winning streak since Nov. 4-8.
They’ll try to win four in a row for the first time this season and do so
against Laviolette, who was fired as the Flyers’ head coach following an 0-3
start to the 2013-14 campaign.
Laviolette took over coaching duties in Philadelphia in December of 2009 and
took the club to a surprising Stanley Cup Finals appearance that season, where
they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Laviolette became just the second coach in Predators history when he replaced
Barry Trotz, who did not have his contract renewed prior to this season.
The Predators come into this game just two points back of the Blackhawks for
first place in the Central Division.
Craig Berube, who replaced Laviolette when he was fired, saw five of his
players score in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Philadelphia got
goals from Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Vincent Lecavalier
and Michael Raffl.
“That fourth goal obviously gave us a little breathing room,” said Lecavalier,
who has three goals in his past two games. “After that we kind of chipped it
in and played a simple game and made sure we got it out at the right time.”
Ray Emery made 22 saves to get the win as No. 1 goaltender Steve Mason missed
his third game in a row with a back injury suffered in practice on Dec. 19.
Mason was expected to start traveling with the team after the holiday br4eak,
but has been ruled out for this game.
That leaves Emery the probable starter and he is 2-2-0 with a 3.57 goals
against average and .833 save percentage in six games (4 starts) versus the
Flyers forward Jake Voracek had two assists versus the Wild and leads the NHL
with 32 helpers and 46 points. He has five goals and 13 points in his last
The Predators are hoping to rebound tonight after having a three-game win
streak halted with Tuesday’s 5-3 setback to Boston.
Nashville tried to make a game of it late, notching 15 shots in the third
period and pulling within one on Taylor Beck’s goal at the 6:48 mark of the
“We have a group that believes we can win every night even when we’re down
two, we have the mentality that we are going to come out with a win,” said
Nashville forward Colin Wilson. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t tie it up but we
can definitely build off of that character that we showed in the third.”
Beck and Calle Jarnkrok each had one goal and an assist for Nashville, while
Carter Hutton stopped 20-of-24 shots in his first start since Nov. 20.
Pekka Rinne figures to return to the net tonight and is 2-1-0 versus the
Flyers with a 2.92 GAA and .917 save percentage.
These two clubs split a pair of meetings last season, with the Flyers’ 3-2
shootout win snapping a five-game winless span (0-1-2 with two ties) in