The Philadelphia Flyers will aim to start a new winning streak when they visit the Nashville Predators in the finale of a three-game road trip on Saturday night.
The Flyers won their first three games to start the season for the first time in 11 years, but missed a chance to go 4-0-0 for the first time since 1995-96 when they lost 4-3 to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Philadelphia has been boosted on offense by top-line forwards Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes and third-liner James van Riemsdyk.
Konecny has four goals and two assists through the first four games and another goal against the Panthers was overturned on an offsides review. Hayes has six assists and van Riemsdyk has two goals and three assists.
Konecny’s start has been particularly impressive. He had 16 goals and 36 assists in 79 games last season, a drop-off after he produced 24 goals in three straight seasons from 2017-20.
Flyers coach John Tortorella wants to see even more creativity from his top players, however.
“I just think we need to make more plays,” Tortorella said. “We bang it around a little bit, it goes back to the other team, and that’s where we end up kind of back on our heels.”
Nashville coach John Hynes is also looking for more from his team after they blew a 3-1 lead to start the third period on Thursday night at the Columbus Blue Jackets and lost 5-3.
The Predators have lost four in a row. They haven’t dropped five straight since November 2019.
“Our attention to detail without the puck was lacking,” Hynes said after the most recent loss. “When you want to play that type of game, odds are you’re going to lose.”
Nashville center Colton Sissons said the Predators need to handle pressure better than they did against the Blue Jackets.
“We’ve got to be more poised, more confident in our game, even when they’re bringing all that pressure,” Sissons said. “We can make plays without a lot of time and space and just trusting each other.”
Nashville is also looking to improve on its power play, which finished sixth in the NHL last season with a 24.4 percent success rate but is 1-for-26 to start this season.
The Flyers had the NHL’s worst power play last season at 12.6 percent but are 4-for-16 so far this season and have scored a power-play goal in every game.
Last season, Philadelphia’s longest stretch of consecutive games with a power-play goal was two.
The Flyers welcomed goalie Felix Sandstrom back against the Panthers. He stopped 31 of 35 shots after missing the first three games with a lower-body injury that occurred in a preseason game on Oct. 1.
Carter Hart is expected to start in goal against Nashville. He has stopped 99 of 105 shots (.943) through his first three starts this season.
Philadelphia is still without right wing Cam Atkinson (upper body), who was second on the Flyers last season in goals (23) and points (50), as well as defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (lower body) and right wing Owen Tippett (upper body).
Tortorella is confident the latest setback for Philadelphia won’t turn into a lengthy losing streak.
“We have the ability to make more plays,” Tortorella said. “We’ve just got to keep on working.”
–Field Level Media