The Philadelphia Flyers' six-game, 13-day road trip is off to a good start.
Vincent Lecavalier scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Lecavalier deked goaltender Marek Mazanec and beat him with a wrist shot in Philadelphia's first attempt. Goaltender Steve Mason stopped Craig Smith before Lecavalier's attempt and made a sprawling stop on Matt Hendricks' backhander in the second round. Matt Cullen, Nashville's third shooter, fired wide to end the game.
"I didn't think we were very sharp, but they hung in there, they battled and they won a game," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "A win is a win. The team showed character tonight, and that's what is important. But we have got some things that need to be ironed out."
Nashville (13-11-3) broke a 1-1 tie 5:05 into the third period when Colin Wilson bulled his way past Jakub Voracek and chased down a dump pass by Gabriel Bourque, then put a backhander from the right circle through Mason's legs. But Philadelphia (12-12-2) got even at 13:07 when Sean Couturier was left all alone near the right post and snapped home a cross-slot pass by Andrej Meszaros. It was Couturier's third goal of the season and his second in as many days.
Mason earned the Flyers a point when he denied David Legwand from the slot with 30 seconds left in regulation after a coast-to-coast rush by rookie defenseman Seth Jones. Wilson had two chances to win the game in overtime, but his blast from the high slot midway through the extra period hit the right post and Mason stopped his backhander on a breakaway with 35 seconds remaining.
"I had a lot of chances. I wish I could have buried a couple," Wilson said
Philadelphia's Claude Giroux and Nashville's Mike Fisher scored 60 seconds apart in the first period.
Mason finished with 34 saves though 65 minutes. Mazanec stopped 22 shots.
"It's nice to come out on top in one of these games," Mason said. "We've struggled in tight situations like this before. Being able to come out and get the extra two points is huge."
The Flyers won at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since March 21, 2000. They were 0-1-2-2 in their five previous visits.
The Predators played without captain Shea Weber, who is day-to-day with an eye injury after taking a puck to the face Thursday night in a 3-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The most experienced defenseman in their lineup was Roman Josi, with 116 career NHL games.
"I thought we probably deserved a better fate," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We played well enough with the young defense. Any one of their defensemen has more experience than all six of ours. I thought our young defense played pretty well. I thought our forwards played pretty well."
Both teams had chances in the first few minutes after the opening faceoff. At 1:41, Mazanec denied Matt Read, who was alone in front after a pass from Couturier. A little more than three minutes later, Mason had to be sharp to stop Patric Hornqvist's wide-open one-timer from the slot.
Giroux opened the scoring at 16:49 when he picked a loose puck after a blocked slot, stepped into a slap shot from the high slot and blew it past Mazanec for his fourth of the season.
Fisher tied it at 17:49 with his sixth of the season when he took Hornqvist's pass from the left corner and snapped a shot from the faceoff dot that beat Mason.
Mason kept the game tied through 40 minutes by stopping 10 shots in the middle period, including a pair of superb stops on deflections by Bourque. Wilson also barely missed the far post with another deflection.
"We should have won the game, but we didn't," Trotz said. "We couldn't hold onto the lead. Their one play, they capitalized on it, got it tied up, and I thought Mason came up with some pretty big saves for them."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
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