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Lindback outstanding, Preds defense not in loss to Flyers…

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Anders Lindback was masterful.

Unfortunately, Ville Leino was too.

The Philadelphia Flyers used two Leino goals and several defensive zone turnovers to beat the visiting Nashville Predators 3-2 in front of 19,702 at Wells Fargo Center. Nashville got goals from Marcel Goc and Joel Ward, as well as 26 saves from Lindback but defense wasn’t solid enough on this night.

While the Predators have, indeed, lost four games in a row, the silver lining from Thursday’s contest was the fact that they hung with the Eastern Conference’s best team, despite coughing up the puck several times. Without those turnovers – and with Anders The Giant’s superb goaltending – Nashville skates away with a huge win. Instead, one too many lapses proved to be the difference.

The Flyers opened the scoring when Jeff Carter came off the boards and caught Alexander Sulzer over-committing. Carter then broke to the inside and beat Lindback to put his team up 1-0.

The Predators weren’t about to lie down and die, however. Less than a minute later, Cody Franson gained the blueline and drew three Flyers towards him, giving Goc the freedom to bang home Franson’s rebound to tie the game at one.

Midway through the second, the Predators thought they’d taken the 2-1 lead. Kostitsyn broke toward the net but then peeled off once Bobrovsky committed to his shot. Once he did, Kostitsyn found Goc as the late man and Goc one-timed it past the Flyers goalie. It was immediately waved off, however as Patric Hornqvist had apparently gone a little too hard to the net, making contact with the stick of Bobrovsky. The score would stay tied.

Ville Leino, as if he were still on the Detroit Red Wings, put his team ahead 2-1 when he slid a rebound through Lindback’s legs on the power play after a Predators turnover at their own blueline.

But, once again, the Predators answered. After gloving down a puck to keep his team on-side, Shea Weber blasted a shot and the rebound was slammed home by Ward. The power play tally tied the game at two.

Unfortunately for Nashville, Leino scored in what will almost certainly be among the goals of the night on NHL On the Fly tonight. After a turnover in the Predators’ zone, Leino drove to the net, did a spin-o-rama to elude a checker, and roofed a backhander over Lindback’s glove to make it 3-2.

The Predators are now staring a five-game losing streak right in the face as the Detroit Red Wings come to town on Saturday. That’s not to say that can’t win – far from it – as the Preds seem to always bring their A-game when their arch rivals come to town.

Puck drops in this important Central Division tilt at 7:05pm and drink lots of hot tea that afternoon. Your vocal chords will need it.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* In the closing seconds of the middle frame, Daniel Carcillo boarded Goc from behind. Kevin Klein responded by dropping the gloves with Carcillo. While it was more of a hugging match, Klein held his own, prevented Carcillo from getting any shots in and, more importantly, stuck up for a teammate. Kudos to the much-maligned Kevin Klein. Kudos.
* Chris Mueller was the only Nashville forward who failed to register a shot on goal tonight.
* Sulzer and Shane O’Brien were the only other Preds without a shot on goal.
* Weber finished with a game-high six shots on goal.
* JP Dumont, one of the highest paid players on the team, saw just 10:12 of ice time.

THE THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT:
1) Ville Leino (PHI)
2) Jeff Carter (PHI)
3) Marcel Goc (NSH)

ADVANCED STATISTICS:
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PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // section303.com

ADVANCED STATISTICS: Patten Fuqua; sourced with data from TimeOnIce.com.