Arvidsson, Saros lead Predators past slumping Flyers 4-0

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Viktor Arvidsson’s thumb and Juuse Saros’ goalkeeping appear to be just fine for the Nashville Predators.

Arvidsson scored twice, Saros made 32 saves and the Predators defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 Tuesday.

Craig Smith and Rocco Grimaldi also scored for Nashville, which has won two straight.

Arvidsson played his fourth game since missing 21 contests with a broken thumb.

Advertisement

“It’s a little hard to come back being out for six weeks,” Arvidsson said. “I feel like I’m close to where I want to be, I’ve just got to keep working.”

The shutout was Saros’ second of the season and the sixth of his career.

“I’ve been practicing well and of course saw a lot of pucks today and we played pretty good defense, so that always helps,” Saros said. “When the team plays well in front of you, usually you get going too, and I had a little bit of luck, too, today, a couple of times the puck hit the post.”

Making his first start since Dec. 15, Saros was busy early, stopping 13 shots in the first period. He made 12 saves in the second and seven in the third period. His best sequence came just over three minutes into the second period when he made back-to-back saves in close on Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek.

Michal Neuvirth made 26 saves for the Flyers, who have lost four in a row.

“We got a solid goaltending performance by Michal,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “All four goals, we beat ourselves on, putting ourselves in the wrong spots. You can’t outscore those mistakes.”

Philadelphia did not convert on either of its power plays in the game. The Flyers have not scored with the man-advantage in their last four games.

“We hit two posts — lot of frustration,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “We’re going to keep working and the power play is going to get back untracked.”

Saros also denied Wayne Simmonds on a breakaway just under six minutes into the third. That save came just before Arvidsson scored his second goal of the night on a wrist shot from the slot at 6:15.

Smith scored the game’s first goal at 2:03 of the second period.

Kevin Fiala skated the puck into the Philadelphia zone on the left side. From the left circle, Fiala sent a cross-ice pass to Smith at the right faceoff dot, where his wrist shot beat Neuvirth high to the stick side just underneath the crossbar.

Fiala has five points in his last three games.

Arvidsson made it 2-0 at 12:03 of the second.

In the left circle, Ryan Johansen drove toward the Philadelphia net before slipping a pass to Arvidsson, who was unchecked at the back post. He tapped it in for his second goal in as many games.

“He’s pushing himself and you see how important he is out here tonight with his speed and his work ethic, his ability to score goals and make a difference in a game,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said of Arvidsson. “The line was really good, especially in the second and third period.”

Grimaldi scored his third of the season at 11:37 of the third. He has scored in consecutive games.

NOTES: Nashville is 18-2-0 when scoring first this season. … The Predators are 12-3-1 against Eastern Conference opponents. … This was the 11th time the Predators played on New Year’s Day, all at home. … Philadelphia did not convert on either of its power plays in the game. The Flyers have not scored with the man-advantage in their last four games. … The Flyers are 1-16-3 when trailing after two periods.

UP NEXT:

Flyers: Host Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Predators: Visit Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.