[Photo: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports]
Colton Sissons (2), assist: Kevin Fiala
So some bad news from that game: the Flyers have now lost their first game at home this season. The good news? Well, they don’t have to play the Predators anymore after getting swept by the Western Conference Champs in Thursday’s loss. They’re the Western Conference Champions for a reason though. Here’s 5 Takeaways from the loss.
5 Takeaways from Flyers vs Predators
- There was good defense from both teams in this one. From the first period, you could almost tell that it was not going to be anything like the first game of the series where 11 goals were scored. Both teams learned a lesson on that one and their goaltenders came to play.
- Two players that people should definitely keep an eye on (if they aren’t already) are Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick. TK has the speed to get to the puck once it gets into the offensive zone, and with Patrick as his centerman, the passes back and forth are only going to get better. There was one sequence in particular in the 3rd period where Konecny was able to beat the defenseman into the zone and Patrick and TK were able to get some big shot opportunities. That chemistry is going to be phenomenal as the season progresses.
- Travis Sanheim got some playing time in this one which is good to see and he played stellar in his home debut. He had some key blocks and a couple good checks. One of those key blocks was on the Predators power play where he managed to cross from one side of the ice to the other to make the stop. It was certainly an impressive night from the Flyers rookie and it will be hard for him not to make the lineup Saturday.
- Michal Neuvirth again stood on his head in this one. He saved a total of 23-on-24 shots and only surrender the one goal off a Flyers turnover. He made some very crucial saves that could have completely put the game out of reach in the 3rd and came up clutch. It’s clear that Neuvirth is outplaying Elliott at this point of the season, and it’s starting to look like the Flyers made the right decision in keeping Neuvirth and letting Mason walk. (Sorry, Mase.)
- How about the final minute and a half of the game? It was a very similar ending to the ending of the first game in Nashville except in reverse. Predators this time, give up the key penalty and the Flyers have a chance at 6-on-4 in the final 1:06 of the game. The Flyers had some pretty good shots, and Gostisbehere made an absolutely incredible catch at the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone and keep the Flyers with scoring opportunities. However, Sean Couturier’s pass for Gostisbehere went just a little past him and sailed towards the opposite end of the ice, giving the Flyers the loss.
- Jordan Weal did not play in this game after getting listed with an upper body injury about a half an hour before game time. He is currently listed as day-to-day but I would be surprised if he did not make the lineup on Saturday. He was certainly missed. Jori Lehtera instead made his Flyers debut this season on the 2nd line in Weal’s spot, and just didn’t seem to have the speed that the rest of his line and the rest of his team had.
- Matt Read was recalled by the Flyers Thursday before the game. He didn’t play Thursday night but if there’s a chance that Weal cannot go on Saturday, don’t be surprised if you see Matt Read in the lineup instead of Lehtera.
Star of the Game
It is obviously Pekka Rinne who stopped all 28 of the Flyers shots. It’s his first shutout against the Flyers in his career.
Flub of the Game
A crucial turnover from Andrew MacDonald lead to a 2-on-1 breakaway with Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala leading to the 1st and only goal of the game.
The Flyers face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at 1 p.m. where we get another look at Manning vs McDavid. I still do not know how Manning will be able to affect McDavid that much because McDavid currently looks unstoppable. But that’s a matchup Flyers fans are waiting for, and after McDavid blamed Manning for his season-ending injury two years ago, Flyers fans love to hate him.