From Flyers Media Relations....
Philadelphia Flyers Postgame Notes
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Nashville 1, Flyers 0 at Wells Fargo Center
Game Summary: Colton Sissons scored what would end up being the game’s only goal 3:49 into the third period to lift the Predators past the Flyers. The Preds shut down five Flyer power-play opportunities, including a late 6-on-4 situation that spanned the final 1:06 of the game. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves to hold down the fort for Nashville, which placed 24 shots on Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Stars of the Game: 1 – Pekka Rinne; 2 – Colton Sissions; 3 – Travis Sanheim.
The 1-0 loss to Nashville comes exactly 50 years to the day the Flyers picked up a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh in their first-ever home game on Oct. 19, 1967 at the Spectrum.
The game marked the 35th 1-0 regulation loss in Flyers history. The most recent occasion was March 25, 2017 in Columbus; the last one at home was on March 31, 2011 vs. Atlanta.
This is the first season the Flyers have lost two games in regulation to Nashville since the franchise’s inception in 1998, and only the second time the Flyers have not earned at least a point in the season series against the Predators. The other occasion was when they lost the only meeting between the teams in 2006-07.
Valtteri Filppula led the Flyers with an 8-for-11 night in the faceoff circle (73 pct).
Shayne Gostisbehere played a career-high 25:23.
Despite his 1-2 record, Michal Neuvirth has a 1.36 GAA and a .957 save percentage in his three appearances. Both of his losses have been shutouts by the opponent. Neuvirth leads the league in both save percentage and goals-against average among goaltenders who have played more than one game.
Flyers D Travis Sanheim
Travis, are you happy with your effort in this game than maybe in some of your previous ones?
“Yeah, I was creating a few chances there and would have liked to bury a few. Overall, I thought I was competing hard and battling out there. I would have liked to get the win.”
With a game like that, is it hard to come back into after you have the last couple of games where they are so tight?
“For me I am hyped up for getting back in the lineup. I thought after a couple of shifts I was back in the mix, and it didn’t take me very long.”
What areas do you think you improved on in this game, then maybe your first couple of ones out there?
“Overall, my gap was a lot better tonight. I thought me and Gudy were working together a lot better as a partner. Overall, it’s going to take time. I thought I was jumping up maybe a little more, creating a little more offense, it’s a huge part in the game.”
Are you surprised the completion of this game, was so different from the one in Nashville?
“Yeah, I think both teams had their chances. The goaltenders were really good tonight. They capitalized on their odd man break and it’s a shame we didn’t get a couple there.”
Is it easier to lock into a two-way game playing in all situations?
“Maybe a little bit. Being a professional I have to be able to adapt to different situations. If I got less minutes in, I still have to find ways to contribute.”
[PK, how do you feel you did on it?]
“Sitting out the last couple of games, trying to pick up little things that some of the other guys are doing. I work on it in practice as well, and watching videos. I am just trying to pick up little things the guys are doing. I thought I did okay on it tonight.”
That quick stick you played on the blue line tonight, several plays you came up and challenged and broke up plays, is that a big part of your game?
“Yeah, I am not a huge physical guy so, I have to rely on my stick quite a bit. A big part of my game, is having a good stick.”
Flyers RW Claude Giroux
Claude, how would you summarize this game, in terms of the chances? The opportunities were out there, at least early on.
“We did a lot of good things. It’s that kind of game where you get frustrated. You are doing all of the good things, you’re playing the right way, you just aren’t getting rewarded. We have a great goalie; we have a good team. For us, in the third we really had to push on the gas. It’s that kind of game.”
[How surprised were you, or not surprised about this game compared to the last game in Nashville?]
“They didn’t get to the Stanley Cup Finals with luck. They’re a good team, they have a good system and they have a lot of good players. As frustrated as we are right now that we didn’t get the win, we have to stay positive and play some good hockey. We have to be ready for Saturday.”
Is Rinne one of those goalies that takes away the lower third part of the ice and you have to find some way to elevate it and sort of pick those corners?
“He’s one of the best goalies in the league, he proved it tonight. We have to focus on us and keep going here.”
Do you think there were enough opportunities tonight to take Rinne’s eyes away from seeing most of the shots?
“Yeah, like I said, we had the opportunity to score. That wasn’t the case, but Neuvy kept us in the game. He made some big saves for us early on, it’s too bad we couldn’t get a goal for him.”
Predators Goalie Pekka Rinne
How would you describe this shut out? It looked like you didn’t see a whole lot, but the chances they had looked pretty good.
“It’s a good team, anytime a goalie gets a shut out it’s a compliment to your teammates too. I mean that was a lot of battle. I was able to see the puck for the most part and make the first save always and a lot of times guys were bailing me out, too. At the beginning of the game they had good chances, I dropped the puck and our D was able to clear the zone, so I obviously, you know when I get a shutout it feels good.”
This is the fourth game I think on the road where you guys have limited chances from the other team, after the crazy game versus these guys about ten days ago. Is there some sort of decision or talk after that game that we take into account?
“I think after the first 2-3 games that was the still ongoing main thing is play tighter as a team and make good decisions. I think by no means we are defensive team, I think we play a fast game and try to play up and down the ice. But you know as a 5 man unit, not get separated too much and things like that. That’s been our focus and then try to find that speed that we have. I think the first few games we weren’t able to generate that for some reason so, you know, tonight is a great road win.”
With about 4 minutes left Couturier had a chance in front, I guess he got around you, did you see that, did it get tipped on the way through to you? Did you skate up and kick it away?
“He made a nice play I tried to block that. He went down for the shot and I don’t know how it got through Yosh (Roman Josi) and luckily stayed pretty low. I was able to get my hands on it after it came through Yosh I was able to see it, but obviously it was really tight and really close, if it had been under the bar or something like that you know you don’t have a chance and sometimes you need some luck too to make a save.”
Flyers G Michal Neuvirth
Were you expecting an extension of the game nine days ago with Nashville when there was thirteen (sic) goals?
“I didn’t know what to expect. Obviously we had great chances, especially late in the third, but we couldn’t beat them tonight.”
Can you talk about Sissons goal perfectly placed it looked there on the far post?
“Yeah I gotta watch the replay to see if I was on the right angle. It was a tough play, two on one. Usually when it’s a tight game like that it’s one mistake. Gotta move on.”
Is that’s what tough now? In two of the three starts now, you’ve been shutout so you’ve had to be pretty much flawless in your starts.
“No it’s tough to say. We’ve been scoring a lot of goals. We had really good chances tonight, but we couldn’t get one behind him. It was frustrating to see that, but like I said we gotta move on. We have another big game on Saturday.”
Predators C Colton Sissons
It was a tight-checking game, but then you got the break there.
Yeah, it was tight out there. It felt like there was always more sweaters around us whenever we got the puck. It was a battle back-and-forth. Just happy to capitalize on that opportunity.
Was it key for you guys to keep them at bay, just cause they have been scoring a lot of goals as of late. You got to keep their chances away from them.
Very important. I thought we could have done a better job of it honestly. They had some great looks. Thank god we had Pekka Rinne in the pipes on top of his game tonight.
Was that a goal when you beat MacDonald up the ice?
Yeah, we’re kind of hip-to-hip and it was a battle to see who could get out in front of each other. Fortunately I got a step on him. Fiala made a beautiful saucer pass right on my blade and put it right where I wanted it.
Things are going up, just to go with the way things have progressed for you guys after the start you guys have had.
Bit of a slow start by our standards, for sure, but we felt we’ve been building everyday, every game getting a little bit better. We really wanted to focus on getting a road win here. It’s a bit of our kryptonite. Last season too, so it feels good.
Feel like you missed something by not playing against these guys down in Nashville last week?
A little bit.
You were the only one that didn’t score in that game?
That’s right. The fans got their money worth in our home opener, that’s for sure.
We talked this morning about wanting to pitch in more offensively, you and Kevin combined. Do you feel like with two goals in two games things are starting to feel the way you want to offensively?
Yeah, definitely. I felt I have been getting chances and kind of creating offensively. Not capitalizing and we just haven’t been putting the puck in the back of the net. Tonight, we did. It feels good.
How has Pekka looked in the last four starts, particularly four combined goals allowed in the last four games?
Amazing. Simply amazing, that’s all I can say.
Flyers D Andrew MacDonald
The last time you guys played in Nashville what was the difference in them in terms of how they approached you guys defensively?
“It was a pretty tight checking game by both sides. There wasn’t a lot of open ice and like you said it was quite a bit different from the last time we played them.
Kind of a tough one because it was so tight and they get that one break then they get the goal. Those are the worst kind of games because they have the one break and that is the difference?
“Yeah it’s frustrating. Obviously, we had a few opportunities ourselves and unfortunately they were the ones who capitalized on theirs.”
On the goal it looked like you got down on the offensive zone and took a pass. I guess the forwards have to come back and cover for you?
“Yeah it’s just a play we run where the D goes through and goes towards the net. I’m not really sure what happened. I went into the pile and the puck went out to the other side just ended up back checking so I’m going to have to look at it again. I’m not sure what happened.”
Did you feel like you guys had ample number of chances and opportunities and it was just a matter of not being able to bury it or not being able to put the puck where you wanted to?
“I think based on how the game went it was a grind game. Like I said there wasn’t a lot of ice out there to be had. We created a few opportunities for ourselves and I don’t think we gave them a whole lot. What they had, they capitalized on and that’s just how this game went.”
How much of a difference was Pekka Rinne for them tonight?
“He made some big saves. They had some blocks and I think we had a couple shots go off their shafts on the way to the net. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll regroup and get ready for the next one.”
Predators head coach Peter Laviolette
It looked a little bit different than last time they played Philly down in your building.
That was pretty tight, you know five-on-five chances and they had a few good looks. We had a few good looks I thought we missed the net a little bit too much tonight on our point blank chances, but tighter game, close game.
This is about the fourth game in a row where you guys have played this tight, more tight defensive style since that game. Was something said, was something changed?
No, not really I mean I think we’ve gotten better every game, tonight was more like you said more of a defensive struggle, defensive grind than anything. There was no big meeting that sent a different direction, we just weren’t very good in the first game and not much better in the second game, it’s just early in the season, and we’re just a new group figuring it out.
Was it a shock to the system almost that game to get everybody kind of corrected (Philadelphia in Nashville)?
No, I like the way we played, we played good in the first and we played good at the end of the game. We just took too many penalties more than anything else. We took too many penalties in the middle of the game and you put them on the power play, they’re dangerous, that first unit especially. I thought we just, once we played a little cleaner and more disciplined hockey we were able to get back in the game, you know they’re an explosive team.
Did you make an adjustment on the PK before the game, I mean these guys didn’t look anything near (inaudible)?
No, but we’re working at it, it’s early in the year, you can’t fix the mistakes until you know what they are. Once you find out what they are then you can work on them, then you can teach. There was a lot of things we weren’t doing right, we didn’t have much of an identity in the first couple games, the penalty kill was a work in progress, and the power play movement was a work in progress, I think it’s slowly getting better.
The two guys that you didn’t have the first time you played, certainly you thought made a difference, Roman, and Colton with a goal.
Colton plays in all situations for us. He’s really come on strong in the second half of last year and the beginning of this year, he almost is a go-to guy. Roman is Roman, he’s one of the top players, top defenseman out there and to get him back is such a boost for our lineup.
Anthony Bitetto’s trying to establish himself as a regular, what progress have you seen over here over the last year or so?
He got really hampered and setback last year by the injury, so he came into training camp, our defense is good, he’s fighting every day for a position, the chance. He’s in there right now he’s doing a good job, he can bring speed, he can bring offense, he can bring physicality. It’s a good thing for us, we have good depth on our defense, everybody’s gotta keep pushing each other. But I think Tony’s really trying to work to try and establish himself as regular.
You may not have meant to do this, this morning when you answered my question, but you basically described to a tee what you did tonight, I mean talking about offense and defense coming from offense.
Yeah, we’ve been good, I thought we did a really good job, just hanging in our end, not getting ahead of ourselves out into the neutral zone or the offensive zone. When we do we get going in the right direction, we’ve been making better decisions in the neutral zone which we weren’t in the first couple of games. We would turn the puck over, so even if we did get going on the rush in offense it got killed right away, just turned around and threw it back in and we’re going back and playing defense again. So the decisions we’re making are better, which is leading to more offense, leading to a better looking game.
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol
Dave do you think you had enough grade A chances?
“Yeah we did. The first half of the game I would like to go back and look at it. We missed two or three good chances where we didn’t actually get them on net. Where we had opportunities we made good plays. We had good chances in the third period. We had two or three good chances before they scored their first goal and we had at least six or seven maybe more after it was a one goal game. We made good plays in the third. We had scoring chances from good areas. We just couldn’t execute to get one past him.”
That was one of the tighter checking, more grinding games you have played. Is that something you think you are well suited for? If you had your way would you prefer to play with the speed game you guys have been playing?
“You have to be ready to play either of those two styles of games. I liked the first period tonight. I thought the second period we spent a little bit too much time in our own end. We didn’t give up a ton but we also didn’t generate a lot. We spent more time five on five in our own zone in the second then we did in their zone. The third period we obviously didn’t get the same outcome but we did get back to it to generate again.”
You use the word execute as if you didn’t. Did you find today that it was just a tad off in some of these things in terms of passes?
“I thought that was true in the first half of the game. I don’t feel that was true with our third period. There was some great plays that were made out there. We didn’t just finish on executing probably isn’t the right term. I thought if I generalize in the first thirty minutes of this hockey game we had some opportunities we didn’t make our best play or execute as well as we could. I didn’t think that was the case in the third period. Give the man credit in net. He made some real good saves.”
What is the difference for a goalie like Rinne? Is it because he is so tall and lengthy and yet athletic for a guy his size?
“He is one of the guys in this league that has proven that he is one of the top guys. Tonight he was on. He was seeing the puck. He had a couple that hit him. He made a couple real good plays but he was in good position to make those saves.”
What did you think of Wayne? He missed a couple of shifts before he took a puck in the mouth or a stick in the mouth?
“No not to my knowledge he didn’t miss any shifts.”
What did you think of his play?
“I thought he was sound. I thought he was solid as Simmer always is. We gave the line a little different look with Lets on there. Lets did a good job. To step in game number seven not having played I think Lets went out and played a real rock solid game.”
You mentioned Lehtera not having played yet, how much thought did you give Matt Read a guy who was at this level but did play five games in the season?
“Lets has done the work. You guys don’t see behind the scenes. The kind of effort and what that takes as a teammate to do that every day to stay ready. Lets was the guy who was going to go in.”
That being said is it tougher for a guy to go in and play on a line having not played all season long?
“He has some familiarity with Fil though. Number one they have played previously in different tournaments and there is a familiarity where they played in the pre season. I wasn’t concerned about that. Mostly it’s you just have to step in and jump in. You get a fast forward in game seven and you haven’t been in the lineup for a couple of weeks.”
What was your evaluation of Sanheim’s two way play tonight?
“I liked Travis’s game. I thought overall defensively he did a good job. His reads were pretty good. A couple of mistakes. Maybe tired mistakes but with the puck and getting up ice I thought he was generating from the back end. I thought he played his game the way you would want him to play and the way you would expect him to play.”
On the Sissons goal you did have him covered, MacDonald was down low and Simmonds kind of makes a move and that kind of kick started their rush.
“It is a tough play because you see the puck and you want to get that loose puck. It is a 0-0 game. It was a real good game on the cycle and there was a scrum at the hash mark. So that is a tough play. Unfortunately the puck got passed Simmer and now it is a race back up ice and did a pretty good job tracking it. The effort was good but they got a good quality shot away.”