Highlights: Mason makes 34 saves; Flyers win in SO
Sean Couturier celebrates after scoring the game-tying goal in the Flyers' 3-2 win over Nashville on Saturday. (AP)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Saturday’s game against the Predators marked the first night of a six-game road trip multiple Flyers referred to as “critical.”
To start it out with a win was critical, too.
“This is huge, to start the road trip the right way,” Sean Couturier said. “I think we deserve that win by battling hard and not quitting and coming back.”
The game against the Predators was far from the Flyers’ best effort of the season. They were flat-footed through the first 40 minutes of play, undisciplined through all of regulation and sloppy at times, too.
But despite it all, they managed to fight their way to a 3-2 shootout victory, bringing their record back to .500 and setting the tone for the trip that will keep them away from the Wells Fargo Center until Dec. 12.
“It was an ugly win,” Claude Giroux said. “I think we know we can play better, we can do better plays out there. But at the end, we got it done. We’ve just got to move forward and try to get better here.”
The win actually propelled the Flyers ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes and into fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. Though they’re still two points out of playoff position, escaping the Bridgestone Arena with a pair of points was a big step in the right direction – even if it wasn’t the sharpest of victories.
“A win’s a win,” coach Craig Berube said. “The team showed character tonight. That’s what’s important. We’ve got some things that we’ve got to get ironed out.”
It was definitely an ugly win. It was likely a character win. But Saturday was also big, considering the difficulties of the opponents that lie ahead on the Flyers’ trip. They pick up Monday in Minnesota against the 15-8-5 Wild.
“Call it whatever you want,” Scott Hartnell said. “It’s two points. That’s what we care about.”
After going 25 games without a goal, Couturier is finally starting to show some offensive prowess. His goal Saturday was his third of the year (and third in seven games), as well as his second in two games.
His critical goal in Saturday’s third period tied the game, setting the stage for the Flyers’ shootout win.
“I thought he had a real good game again today,” Berube said. “Killed penalties, scored a big goal, obviously. He was good.”
Hartnell, you might recall, was a member of the Predators before he was traded to the Flyers along with Kimmo Timonen.
Hartnell, though he didn’t register any points Saturday, said he always likes coming back to his former city. His play matched that: Hartnell had seven shots on net and another five that went wide. He also registered four hits and one blocked shot.
“There’s not too many guys that I know over there still, just a couple,” Hartnell said. “It’s always a fun city to come to off the ice, and we put fourth a good effort.”
The Flyers’ win was their first in Nashville since March 21, 2000. Heading into Saturday’s game, they were 0-1-4 at Bridgestone Arena. The two teams had alternated wins in each of their last five meetings, and the home team had won in each of them.
No help needed
Giroux’s first-period unassisted goal was the Flyers’ third consecutive unassisted goal. Both goals scored Friday against the Winnipeg Jets (Couturier, Hartnell) were also unassisted.
A couple of firsts
Saturday’s win was Steve Mason’s first shootout win as a member of the Flyers. It was also Vinny Lecavalier’s first shootout goal as a Flyer.