Predators 1, Flyers 0: Five quick observations

Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek skates with the puck past Nashville Predators left wing Austin Watson during the second period on Thursday.

Simmonds hobbling:  From his first shift on, Wayne Simmonds seemed to be laboring out there Thursday night. He left Tuesday’s game against Florida early with what was termed a “lower body injury’’. Hard to tell whether it was his groin or his back bothering him, but his speed, his balance, even the arc of his body as he almost stumbled his way to pucks and up ice was noticeable. And sometimes hard to watch. Needless to say, the Flyers first power play unit hardly resembled the crisp tape-to-tape machine it has in their previous six games during the lone penalty of that scoreless first period.

Who turned off the power?: It’s not so much that the Flyers did not score on their first two power plays, but how they looked in not doing so.  With the first unit soaking the bulk of time, they mustered zero shots on goal on the first one, a single dangerous one in the second. Throughout three power plays and a tiny part of a fourth (Simmonds negated it with a dubious interference penalty), they were tedious, inexact and played as if they were put together that night. Some credit should go to Nashville’s defensive effort – they had allowed four goals in the three games that had occurred since that wild 6-5 victory over the Flyers on Oct. 10. But it’s fair to wonder if maybe Wednesday’s day off affected the Flyers  crispness and “compete’’ as well.

The rookies kill a penalty… Almost on their own: With Nashville on its first power play midway through the second, both Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim found themselves out with Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds to kill it. Not only did the two rookie defensemen survive, they thrived, bottling up the puck in the corner for what seemed like an eternity before Sanheim gained control and lifted it the length of the ice. Then, on Nashville’s final entry with the man advantage, Sanheim blocked the lone shot while remaining on his feet. Nice.

And down on the farm:  Mike Vecchione and defenseman Philippe Myers earned the team’s player of the week honors after each scored their first professional goals. Vecchione scored on a 2-on-1 with Nic Aube-Kubel in the second period of a 3-2 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last Saturday. Myers’ goal came as he trailed and jumped in on a successful forecheck in a 4-3 shootout victory over Hershey the following day. Vecchione had an assist in that game and now has five points in the Phantoms first five games. Meanwhile, with Jordan Weal out with an upper body injury and Jori Lehtera suiting up for the first time this season, Matt Read was recalled from Lehigh Valley but did not dress.

Bad night for zebras too: The combo of Marc Joannette and Dean Morton tortured both sides equally, and equally for the calls they ignored as much as the ones called. Travis Konecny was tackled once after breaking free into Nashville’s zone and in full view of both officials. Nothing. Until the final frantic minute, around the net everything short of rubbing salt in the other guy’s eyes was allowed, while Nashville’s Filip Forsberg went to the box for an interference call that simply didn’t occur and Simmonds was given an interference penalty for flipping Viktor Arvidsson’s stick from his hands. Those are just samples.