Predators can't keep up with Flyers late, lose fourth straight

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 9:49pm
Staff reports

This time, the Nashville Predators did not lose a third-period lead. They did lose a game when the Philadelphia Flyers outperformed them over the final 20 minutes.

The Predators answered the first of Ville Leino’s two third-period goals but could not do so with the second, which the 27-year-old forward scored with 3:14 to play, and lost 3-2 in the first of just four road games scheduled this month.

It was their fourth straight loss. Three of the four have been in regulation.

"It’s a wasted effort," captain Shea Weber said. "We fought back hard a couple of times. We got ourselves back in it, but we can’t seem find a way to win or get points."

Nashville (27-18-7) never led but started the third period tied 1-1. The Flyers had twice as many shots (12-6) from that point on and — more importantly — twice as many goals (2-1).

Philadelphia finished with a 29-27 edge in shots.

Joel Ward’s fourth power-play goal of the season tied it at 2-2 with 9:42 to play in regulation. It was his fourth of the season with the man-advantage — a career-high. He had three in each of his three previous NHL seasons.

Leino had given the Flyers, who have the Eastern Conference’s best record (34-13-5), 3:23 earlier.

Similarly, Marcel Goc tied it 1-1 in the first period 59 seconds after Philadelphia got the first goal of the night from Jeff Carter, who also had assists on both of Leino’s goals.

It was Goc’s ninth goal of the season but just his first in 10 games. He seemingly got his second of the night — and put the Predators in front — in the second period, but the goal was waived off when officials ruled that Patric Hornqvist interfered with the goalie because he skated through the crease area.

Anders Lindback made his 17th start of the season in goal as Pekka Rinne, who had started the previous six for Nashville, was rested. Lindback made 26 saves against the league’s second highest scoring team and lost for the fourth time in his last five decisions.

“I thought we had a really good effort," coach Barry Trotz said. "We came back twice in the game and tied it up and then just some coverage break down. The low forward on the third goal was really loose on Leino and then panicked and Leino executed. I thought we should have come out of here with a point. That’s the third game in a row we played very, very well and should have gotten points, giving up a late goal to either lose a point or lose a game."