NHL 20 Simulation: Late goal by Sean Couturier gives Flyers the win

Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

A mistake by Roman Josi allowed Sean Couturier to score a late goal in the Flyers victory.

There wasn’t much time for the Flyers to lament over their overtime loss to the Rangers. They welcomed in the Predators for this second half of a back to back. Carter Hart and Pekka Rinne were the goaltenders for what was sure to be a great matchup.

Ivan Provorov scored a goal for the second straight game, just under three minutes in. He got a little help from Ryan Johansen along the way. Provorov’s blast went off the stick of Rinne before it deflected off of Johansen’s blade and in the net.

The Predators found it hard to get much going in the offense zone. The Flyers were solid, creative a multitude of turnovers. Hart was sharp when he did face chances.

The Flyers did give the Predators a key opportunity to tie the game late. Tyler Pitlick took a tripping penalty with about two and a half to go in the first. Nashville wasn’t able to get much going with the chance.

The best chance they had was a Filip Forsberg shot taken just to the right of Hart. But he was square to the shot and shut it down with ease.

Both Hart and Rinne did a solid job in the first period. It likely should’ve been a scoreless game going into the second. But we’re okay with how it actually went.

Rinne continued his sharp play in the early minutes of the second, trying to buy time for his team to come alive. But Hart was just as sharp for the Flyers.

Nashville almost grabbed the equalizer midway through off a shot by Rocco Grimaldi. Hart made the stop with his chest as the puck bounced between his pads. He was just able to close them up right before the puck snuck through.

A turnover by Shayne Gostisbehere gave the Predators another golden chance. But a physical play by Derek Grant knocked Johansen off the puck. Hart was able to safely and calmly freeze the puck.

But the Predators didn’t give up, scoring on the next play. After a tie-up on the face off, Yakov Trenin grabbed the puck as Kyle Turris broke free towards the net. All alone, Turris grabbed the pass and quickly fired it past Hart. It deflected off his blocker on the way in.

It was clear that goal energized the Predators. They seemed like a different team afterwards. Nick Bonino had one of many grade-A opportunities as his hard blast was snared by the glove of Hart.

And with that, it was a tie game going into the third period. While the Flyers were the better team in the first, it was Nashville who took over in the second. So the third was bound to be a back and forth period.

A turnover by Claude Giroux gave Colton Sissons a breakaway chance early in the third. But Provorov did a good job keeping him to the outside as the shot was fired from just inside the right face-off circle.

Robert Hagg, cheating towards the net, had a chance to break the tie. But Rinne was able to dive out and stop the bouncing puck from making its way past him.

It was another turnover that allowed the Flyers to grab the lead with just under three minutes to go. A turnover by Roman Josi allowed Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Sean Couturier to come in on a 2-on-0 breakaway.

Aube-Kubel, who was actually heading off before the turnover, sent the pass over to Couturier just as he entered the slot. And he had plenty of net to shoot at.

The Predators had no choice but to pull Rinne with 39 seconds to go. The Flyers were sharp at pressuring the Predators whenever they had the puck. Giroux would  end up icing this game with the empty-netter.

Hart came out on top in what turned out to be a goaltending duel. Rinne was left out to dry on the Flyers’ winning goal as he likely deserved a better fate.

The Flyers have one game remaining in the schedule as they head to Buffalo on Saturday.