February 20, 2015

Though they didn't get down on themselves about it, the Nashville Predators certainly are glad their scoring drought is finally over.

Offensive woes remain an ongoing problem for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Having made sure they avoided going winless - and scoreless - on a five-game road swing, the Predators might not need much offense in the finale Friday in Philadelphia to take care of the NHL's lowest-scoring team.

Nashville's franchise-record stretch without a goal was halted at 227 minutes, 39 seconds, on Mike Fisher's first-period goal in a 3-2 win at Buffalo on Wednesday.

"Knew it was going to come, just a matter of time," Fisher told the NHL's official website. "... We were due for bounces and we got a few."

The Predators (12-6-3) had been shut out by Columbus, Minnesota and the New York Rangers in the first three games of the trip despite outshooting those opponents 93-64.

"We weren't going to get shut out the rest of the year," coach Peter Laviolette said. ''That would be impossible, right? ... At some point we're going to score a goal. I think there's just a lot of confidence in our guys that they're going to score. They do the right things, they put the puck at the net. It's going to go in."

Craig Smith and Cody Hodgson also scored for Nashville, though Fisher's goal may have been the most important because the six-time 20-goal scorer had gone eight straight games without a point and has just five all season.

Philadelphia (7-10-5) has plenty of forwards off to bad starts. Wayne Simmonds is in a five-game point drought and has just three goals after recording 57 over the past two seasons. Jakub Voracek remains stuck on one goal after topping 20 in each of the previous three seasons.

The result has been the Flyers scoring a league-low 1.73 goals per game. They've surpassed three goals once in 22 games.

"We have to look at everything," coach Dave Hakstol said when asked if changes must be made to generate more offense. "(We) try to do that every day. So we have to look at everything."

Hakstol's club had a season-low 18 shots in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Islanders. Two days earlier, the Flyers had 36 in a 3-2 win over Carolina.

"We're just inconsistent," captain Claude Giroux said. "It's the same story every game. We need to find a way to be consistent the whole game. I'm not too sure what to say."

Philadelphia has lost four of five while scoring six goals, with four coming on the power play. Nashville's penalty kill is in the middle of the pack at 80.3 percent, but the club has been short-handed the ninth-fewest times in the league at 66.

Pekka Rinne was rested Wednesday after losing the first three games of the Predators' trip without any goal support, though he wasn't sharp with an .841 save percentage. He's 3-0-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average in his last four starts against the Flyers.

Steve Mason has lost 11 of 13 starts this season, including four straight despite a .929 save percentage. He's 1-4-1 with a 2.94 GAA in his last six against Nashville.

These clubs split two meetings last season in Laviolette's first games against the Flyers since they fired him three games into 2013-14. He led Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup final in 2010.

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