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Predators finally win a shootout

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking at another possible shootout loss, the Nashville Predators got big shots from unlikely players.

Defenseman Roman Josi scored the decisive goal in a shootout to lift the Nashville Predators to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds scored a power-play goal with 1:24 left in regulation to tie it, and the shootout went seven rounds.

Eight shooters were denied before left winger Brayden Schenn scored for the Flyers, but center Matt Cullen answered. Flyers center Sean Couturier then beat goaltender Carter Hutton high to the glove side, but Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis scored on a backhander past goalie Steve Mason.

After Simmonds was stopped, Josi beat Mason to win it for Nashville (21-21-7). It was the Predators first win in six shootouts this season.

"Everybody kind of stuck with it and we understand how important every point is right now," Cullen said. "We're in a dog fight here and we're trying to get ourselves into the playoff hunt. It's important for us. I thought the guys stayed up pretty good."

Defenseman Shea Weber had a goal and two assists, and left winger Eric Nystrom and center Dave Legwand also had goals to help Nashville win in Philadelphia for the first time since Nov. 29, 2006.

Schenn and defenseman Andrej Meszaros scored Philadelphia's other goals.

Playing with two extra skaters because coach Craig Berube pulled Mason, the Flyers got the tying goal on a double deflection. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen's one-timer from the point deflected off left winger Scott Hartnell's stick, hit Simmonds' stick, then trickled in.

The Flyers (24-19-5) have lost two in a row at home after winning 10 straight at the Wells Fargo Center.

Weber played against the Flyers for the first time since they signed him to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet that Nashville matched in July 2012. He showed Philadelphia why the Flyers wanted him so much.

After assisting on the first two goals, the captain scored the decisive one on a power-play goal early in the third period. Weber ripped a one-timer from the point past Mason for his 12th goal, which leads NHL defensemen. Nine of his goals have been on the power play.

"It's a tough place to play," Weber said. "They're a good team and obviously we would have liked to win in regulation, but they scored a power-play goal late, and we were able to finish it off in the shootout. A little bit of a confidence builder for us."

As a slow-moving, scoreless second period was winding down, Meszaros beat the clock to tie it at 2-2 with 4.1 seconds left. Meszaros was trailing on a rush when defenseman Mark Streit passed to Simmonds, who dropped it to Meszaros for a slap shot into the corner.

Meszaros, a healthy scratch 20 times this season, has become an unlikely offensive force. He has one goal and eight assists in the last nine games.

"I want to stay in the lineup all the time obviously," Meszaros said. "That's the key and you play more games, you feel more comfortable."

Legwand had given the Predators a 2-1 lead on a power-play goal seconds after a 5-on-3 advantage expired. Flyers captain Claude Giroux had just left the penalty box when center Mike Fisher sent a crossing pass to Legwand, who blasted a shot into the top left corner.

Nystrom deflected a shot by left winger Gabriel Bourque off the post and behind Mason to tie it at 1-1.

Schenn gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead by redirecting a shot by Simmonds into the open side early in the first. Meszaros set it up with a nifty move going to the net and a pass to Simmonds.

Hutton preserved a one-goal lead in the second period when he scurried from behind the net and made a diving catch on left winger Michael Raffl's shot into a wide-open net.

"I knew I had to continue to do my thing and battle," Hutton said. "I've been pretty confident in my game throughout the season with its ups and downs. You've got to keep an even keel."

Raffl blamed himself.

"I would rather call it a miss," he said. "You've got the open net and the puck is bouncing right on my blade. (Legwand) got his stick on me a little bit. It changed kind of direction. I wasn't aiming there so you've got to give him credit, he made a desperate save. It was a nice save."

NOTES: Predators G Devan Dubnyk, acquired from Edmonton on Wednesday, was the backup. ... Predators GM David Poile said he expects G Pekka Rinne to play this year after having hip surgery, but there is no timetable for his return. ... C David Legwand's goal on Thursday night was just his second in the past 16 games. ... The Flyers had killed 31 of the previous 32 penalties before allowing a power-play goal to the Predators in the first period. ... Flyers LW Scott Hartnell was in the lineup despite being questionable after he blocked a shot with his ankle in a win at Buffalo on Tuesday. ... Flyers RW Zac Rinaldo (high ankle sprain) remained sidelined. ... Flyers LW Brayden Schenn has scored a goal in six of the last 10 games.
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