Postgame Perspective: Simple approach gives Flyers win over Predators


Photo courtesy of Amy Irvin/38Photography

"Anybody can beat anybody in this league."

Those words from Craig Berube, said after the Flyers shootout loss on Thursday to the league-worst Buffalo Sabres, fit perfectly with the Flyers shootout win over the league-leading Nashville Predators.

The Flyers controlled play for the majority of the game and scored on both shootout attempts without allowing a goal in the shootout to claim a 3-2 win.

The one thing the Flyers had in this game that they didn't in the previous four was a strong start. The Flyers took 13 of the game's first 14 shots and scored first four the first time in four games.

"I thought we played a really good game, starting from the first period," Wayne Simmonds said. "We kept it pretty simple. We got pucks out, we got pucks in and we tried to grind them down."

"I liked all game," Berube said. "We had real good jump early, we were cycling the puck early, had some odd-man rushes. [Pekka] Rinne was good but the team stuck with it."

Simmonds struck for the game's first goal at 8:59, his team-leading 23rd of the season. Ryan White gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 11:21 of the season, a lead they carried into the intermission. White extended his points streak to four games with his second goal in as many games.

"That line's been really good," Berube said. "[R.J.] Umberger and White have played together and Schenn looks good there. They're hard workers. [White's] all over the puck. He's physical, he had a couple opportunities around the net and he capitalized on them."

"It's getting there. We've showed some spurts on this homestand," White said. "We're starting to play the right way. I think guys are starting to realize what we've got to do every night."

The Flyers had to fend off the Predators in the third period, as Nashville fired 10 shots at Rob Zepp. They took five more in overtime. Zepp stopped the last 14 shots he faced plus two more in the shootout to seal the win. Zepp showed a lot of emotion in his celebration following the clinching save, using the glove to stop Craig Smith.

"You make that save and the game's over, it's always fun to make a little glove save there," Zepp said. "I was just pretty excited. The guys battled tonight and I knew how much to two points meant to the team. I'm just really happy to get them."

"We haven't had too much success this year in the shootout," Simmonds said. "We went down with a purpose tonight and Zepper made two great saves."

Simmonds and Jake Voracek scored for the Flyers in the shootout, both finding a way to solve Rinne, who stopped 31 shots. It marked just the third shootout win for the Flyers all season, further proving Berube's point about any team being able to win any game.

"Shootouts are shootouts. You pick guys and watch," Berube said. "I felt good after Jake scored right away though."

So what was the difference between Thursday's loss to Buffalo and Saturday's win over Nashville. A simplified game is what Berube attributes to the team's wins against significantly better opponents.

"Maybe knowing that we're playing a top team, you have to simplify," Berube said. "That's the key to any game. You play simple and support each other out there and do what you're supposed to do and you'll have success."

Which only sets the stage for Sunday afternoon, as the Flyers close out the four-game homestand with their final game of the season against the Washington Capitals.

"It's huge for us. We've got a big game tomorrow too against Washington," Simmonds said. "We need every point we can possibly get and it doesn't matter how we get them."

"They've come a long ways. Got a long way to go," Berube said. "Guys have been resilient, working hard, doing a lot of the little things that are needed." 

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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