Mason steals win as Flyers get back to .500

NASHVILLE _ Despite a depleted lineup, Nashville had more scoring chances and more shots than the Flyers, but the Predators ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard Saturday night.

The Flyers (12-12-2) got back to .500 with an inartistic 3-2 shootout win over the Predators at the Bridgestone Arena.

“Over the 65 minutes, I think we were the better team,” Predators winger Patric Hornqvist said.

Hornqvist won’t get an argument.

That said, no one was better than goalie Steve Mason, who stopped 34 shots, including a breakaway late in regulation, and stole two points for the Flyers.

Vinny Lecavalier scored what proved to be the game-winner in the shootout; Mason was not beaten in three shootout attempts.

“It’s not the first time we’ve seen that,” captain Claude Giroux said of Mason’s outstanding play. “He’s been solid for us. At one point during the game, we were sloppy but he was able to shut it down for us and kind of give us our confidence back.”

Nashville outshot the Flyers, 36-24.

Mason was playing on back-to-back days. He was the winner in Friday’s 2-1 win over visiting Winnipeg in a game that started at 11:30 a.m.

"It was such an early game, so we had a lot of time to recover,” Mason said. “It’s nice to go back to back because you get into a rhythm and start feeling better about your game,.”

The Flyers, who knotted the score at 2-2 on Sean Couturier goal with 6:53 left in regulation, are 5-1 in their last three sets of back-to-backs after starting the season 0-4 in those situations.

They started a six-game road trip Saturday and play in Minnesota on Monday.

“A win is a win. The team showed character tonight and that is what’s important,” coach Craig Berube said after the Flyers’ first victory in Nashville since 2000.

Nashville controlled a lot of the game despite playing without its two best players. Defenseman Shea Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne are injured.

"We felt we could take advantage of some of their foot speed, or lack thereof," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz, referring to the Flyers.

Breakaways. The Flyers’ PK, led by Couturier, killed all five Nashville power plays…..Couturier has goals in each of the last two games, and he was the Flyers’ best skater in both of those contests…Scott Hartnell had seven shots on goal against his former team…Kimmo Timonen, another former Predator, played 29:18…Mason notched his first shootout win as a Flyer, and Lecavalier scored his first shootout goal with his new team....Injuries to Weber and veteran Kevin Klein meant that Nashville was playing with a defense that had played a combined 305 NHL games before Saturday. By comparison, the Flyers' defensemen had played a total of 3,046 NHL games.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.