The Philadelphia Flyers are back in action tonight for a 7 PM matchup against the Nashville Predators at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Flyers have won their last two games since their heartbreaking, last-minute defeat in Nashville on October 10th, scoring 13 goals over that span. The Predators (3-2-1) have points in four straight games beginning with the 6-5 victory over Philadelphia.
Fortunately for the Flyers, forward Wayne Simmonds says he will be back in the lineup tonight after sitting out the final 8:12 of the third period on Tuesday against the Panthers. The ever-mysterious “lower-body injury” that Simmonds suffered was not significant enough to keep the 29-year-old out of practice yesterday. Philadelphia hopes Simmonds can sustain his production from the early-goings of the season; the forward has seven points (5-2-7) in his first six games.
The offense has been little an issue for the Flyers, whose first line of Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek has combined for 26 points in six games this season. After somewhat of a disappointing 2016-’17 for Giroux, the Flyers’ captain has stormed out of the gate for eight points (4-4) in his last four games. Voracek currently sits at second in the NHL in assists (10), one behind Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Michal Neuvirth will get the nod in goal tonight for the Flyers, starting consecutive games for the first time this season after a 40 save performance against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Pekka Rinne is expected to start his fifth straight game tonight; the Nashville netminder has posted a 2.41 GAA and a .919 Sv. % in five starts this season. A player to watch on Nashville’s side of things is Filip Forsberg, who has tallied eight points (4-4) over a four-game point streak. The Swedish winger also buried the last-minute goal in Nashville’s 6-5 win over the Flyers on October 10.
Prediction: Both teams have had no shortage of offense so far this season. Nashville currently holds the upper-hand on defense and in goal, but the high-octane offense of Philadelphia will be difficult to manage. I see the Flyers taking this one in a narrow 4-3 victory.