In Philadelphia, Wayne Simmonds scored twice to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 home victory over Nashville on Thursday, snapping the Predators five-game winning streak in the process.
The Flyers were outshot 12-6 in the first period, but escaped with a 1-0 lead thanks to Simmonds, who broke free and fired a shot past the Predators Swedish goalie Anders Lindback.
“Reno [Zack Rinaldo] had the goalie screened, so I just turned and tried to fire the puck and hoped it would go in,” Simmonds told reporters. “The goalie didn’t see a thing. Reno did a great job.”
Philadelphia also successfully killed two penalties in the period against the second-ranked Predators power play.
Nashville ran into penalty difficulties of their own midway through the second period and successfully killed a two-man disadvantage.
Matt Read doubled the lead in the second period, stripping Kevin Klein of the puck at the Flyers blue line and racing down the left wing before snapping a shot through the legs of Lindback.
“We kill a five-on-three and usually the team that makes the kill gets the momentum, but we gave it right back to them when they scored,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
Ryan Suter broke the shutout bid of Flyers Russian goalie Ilya Bryzgalov when he scored with a wrist shot at the start of the third period. Bryzgalov made 26 saves for his 19th win of the season.
However, Simmonds scored his second on the power play with five minutes remaining, gathering the loose puck in front of the Nashville goal, spinning quickly and firing the puck into an open corner to restore a two-goal cushion for the hosts.
Claude Giroux then completed the scoring with an empty-netter goal with little more than a minute remaining.
OILERS 8, BLACKHAWKS 4
In Edmonton, Canada, the Oilders’ Sam Gagner scored four goals and added four assists in the Oilers win over the Chicago Blackhawks to become the 11th player in NHL history to record eight points in a game.
Gagner’s scoring outburst equals an Oilers franchise record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. The last player to record eight points in a game was Mario Lemieux for Pittsburgh on Dec. 31, 1988.
“I think this is the only situation I can ever have my name mentioned in their breath,” Gagner told reporters. “It’s really an honor to have a night like this and be mentioned in that class, even if it’s only for tonight.”
Gagner had just five goals in 43 games this season prior to Thursday’s onslaught.
“To get this at the NHL level is something I can’t even really fathom,” Gagner added. “I don’t even really know how to react to it.”
Darryl Sittler holds the NHL single-game record with 10 points for Toronto against Boston on Feb. 7, 1976.
Taylor Hall, Ryan Whitney, Jordan Eberle and Cam Barker had the other goals for the Oilers.
Patrick Sharp had two goals, while Jamal Mayers and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks, who have lost four straight.
RED WINGS 4, CANUCKS 3
In Vancouver, the Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler scored in the shootout to give Detroit a 4-3 win over Vancouver that padded their lead over the Canucks in the Western Conference.
Both shooters beat goalie Roberto Luongo on the stick side to give the Red Wings a 6-0 record this season in shootouts. Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard smothered Alex Edler’s close-in shot, while Mason Raymond lost control of the puck in the tiebreaker.