NASHVILLE, Tenn. — What looked like a dream comeback turned into a nightmare finish.
Nursing a 5-4 lead with 2:41 remaining in regulation Tuesday, the Flyers committed a pair of penalties to put the Predators on a 5-on-3 power play.
It was the start of the meltdown.
Nashville twice capitalized on the man advantage in the final 1:17 to deal the Flyers a frustrating 6-5 loss at Bridgestone Center.
This came after the Flyers wiped out a 3-0 deficit in the second period with three goals over a 4:46 span. They then snared the lead in the first seven minutes of the third with goals from Travis Konecny and Valtteri Filppula (see highlights).
However, it went for naught when the Flyers unraveled with a Dale Weise holding penalty, an Andrew MacDonald tripping penalty, and a failed coach’s challenge (no offside call), resulting in a third costly infraction (see story).
With the loss, the Flyers finished their season-opening road trip 2-2-0 and return for their home opener Saturday night against the Capitals.
• Dave Hakstol's challenge lost was on Scott Hartnell's game-tying goal at 5-on-3 with 1:17 remaining. No offside was confirmed and put the Flyers back on a two-man disadvantage. Hakstol's decision was risky because of the new NHL rule penalizing a failed challenge.
Forty-one seconds later, Filip Forsberg scored the game-winner for the Predators. Earlier in the final stanza, Forsberg started Nashville's comeback with his first of the game, trimming the Flyers' lead to 5-4.
• The holding call on Weise was questionable as he became tied up with two Nashville skaters while pursuing the puck in open ice. MacDonald's tripping came not long after with the Flyers trying to force the play dead.
• The Flyers quickly erased a three-goal, second-period deficit by scoring three unanswered goals. They roared back by scoring their first two goals just 16 seconds apart. MacDonald initially stopped the bleeding and got the Flyers on the board with a slap shot from just inside the blue line that beat Pekka Rinne.
To his credit, MacDonald did a nice job of wheeling out of trouble in the neutral zone and allowing the Flyers to gain a clean entry into the Predators’ zone.
On the next shift, Weise burned the Predators with a tenacious forecheck to force a takeaway behind Nashville’s net. He then fed Nolan Patrick, who found the soft area in the low slot that pulled the Flyers within a goal.
Weise looked slow in the first three games, but that shift was a textbook forecheck to set up the rookie’s first NHL goal.
“Obviously, it’s really exciting. It was an unbelievable play by Weiser to jump right off the draw, get [past] their D and throw it in front for a pretty easy goal for me,” Patrick said. “It was a great play by him.”
• Hartnell, who went out to dinner with some of his former Flyers teammates Monday night, ripped a slap shot off a rebound that Brian Elliott was slow to react to in the second period. Hartnell’s shot hit off Elliott’s pad and went in to give Nashville a 2-0 lead.
• Nashville’s big free-agent signing, Nick Bonino, extended the Predators’ lead to 3-0 after defenseman Mattias Ekholm wheeled around Claude Giroux and put a shot on Elliott that created Bonino’s rebound goal during 4-on-4 play. Giroux failed to negate Ekholm’s speed and cut down his angle to the net.
• Predators coach Peter Laviolette said pregame his team needed to play with more speed. The Predators nearly used that to their advantage when speedy winger Viktor Arvidsson raced past Ivan Provorov and MacDonald for a breakaway that Elliott denied with his left pad in the opening minute of the game.
• After an 0-for-5 performance in Pittsburgh, the Predators spent a majority of Monday’s practice working on their power play and puck movement. The work paid off on their first opportunity as Craig Smith worked his way into the high slot and fired a shot that beat Elliott blocker side.
• Despite the goal, Elliott was the Flyers’ best player in the opening 20 minutes as he battled through screens and traffic to stop 8 of 9 shots and keep the Flyers’ deficit to 1-0.
• Quebec born Samuel Girard made his NHL debut for the Predators as he replaced Roman Josi on the team’s top pairing. Nashville wasted no time rushing the defenseman, who is just 19 years and 151 days old, to the NHL. Girard displayed an impressive skill set reminiscent of what we’ve seen from teammate P.K. Subban over the years with some nifty skating and puck skills.
• Predators general manager David Poile is a genius at finding, drafting and developing young defensemen. Among those that have come through the Predators’ system include Kimmo Timonen, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Marek Zidlicky and Josi.
• When the Flyers host the Capitals Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, that will leave the Wild as the only team in the league that has yet to play on home ice. They’re scheduled to host the Blue Jackets that same night.
Lines, pairing and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas
Scratches: Sam Morin, Jori Lehtera, Brandon Manning
NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall contributed to this report.