Flyers rally to salvage OT point in Nashville

Sam Ersson

      While they would have liked to complete their three-game road trip in perfect fashion, the Flyers could take some consolation from their 3-2 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night in Nashville.

      Philadelphia did put together a good effort, outshooting the Predators by a wide margin and dominating for large stretches of play. And after falling behind 2-0, they did come back to force overtime.

      Goaltender Sam Ersson turned in another strong performance. He didn’t have much work to do but he did make several tough saves.

      Nashville’s Filip Forsberg scored 18 seconds into overtime for the game-winner. Ersson stopped Forsberg’s initial shot but the puck flipped onto the goaltender’s leg pad. Forsberg raced in and tapped the disk the last couple feet.

      The Flyers’ four-game winning streak came to an end. They finished their three-game road trip with a 2-0-1 mark and fell to 15-10-3 for the season. They are now 9-4-2 on the road.

      Philadelphia remains one of only two teams to not win a game when trailing after two periods.

      Still, taking five out of six points is something most teams will sign up for right now.

      “We were a good team tonight,” coach John Tortorella said. “Ersson didn’t get much action but made some saves when we needed them. We knew we were playing well, playing fast.”

      Tortorella said he didn’t think his team put enough traffic in front of Predators goalie Juusi Saros.

      “We’ve seen him play and when he’s locked in, he’s a tough goalie to beat,” the coach said. “He sees pucks. So we tried to make an effort to get in front of him. He was the difference.”

       Travis Sanheim’s goal at 6:49 of the third period pulled the Flyers even at 2-2 and completed a two-goal comeback. The Flyers appeared to be fortunate on the play as Travis Konecny pulled down Nashville’s Gustav Nyquist on the way up the ice but no penalty was called.

      Sanheim liked the way the Flyers rallied from the two-goal deficit. Plus they blocked 14 shots and forced Saros to make a season-high 38 saves.

      “Some really big blocks,” Sanheim said. “We had some breakdowns but se didn’t give up. It’s a huge point. We’ll take it and move on.”

      Sean Couturier’s goal with 23 seconds left in the second period cut Nashville’s lead to 2-1 at the second intermission.

      Up to that point, Saros had frustrated the Flyers with stop after stop. But just after a penalty to Joel Farabee ended, the left wing led a Philadelphia rush into the Predators’ zone. Farabee worked a give-and-go, then dished to Couturier, who paused, then slid the puck into the net past a diving Saros.

      Later came the Sanheim goal and the Flyers came away with something.

      “We found a way to get back in the game,” Couturier said. “Getting a point was huge. Unfortunately we didn’t get the extra one. But there were a lot of positives.

      “I thought maybe early on we didn’t get enough traffic in front of (Saros). Made it a little easier on him. But give him credit, he played a good game.”

      Nashville scored the first two goals of the game. On the first, Nyquist was able to deflect a shot past Ersson at 9:42 of the first period.

      On the second goal, Michael McCarron scored at the 3:05 mark of the second period.

      >Short shots

      Couturier has a six-game point streak. . .The Flyers resume action on Thursday night when they play host to the Washington Capitals. . .Philadelphia went into the game with the fifth-ranked penalty kill in the NHL. Since Nov. 11, they are the No. 1 team on the penalty kill. . .Phillies star Bryce Harper took in the game in person. . .Cam Atkinson’s goal drought reached 13 games.

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About Wayne Fish 2338 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.