Loss of experienced defensemen not a big factor in Predators' loss to Flyers

Conventional hockey wisdom is that it takes longer for defenseman to develop than those at any other position.

The Nashville Predators had no choice Saturday but to put that notion to the test and the results were not so bad.

With Shea Weber (eye) and Kevin Klein (lower body) sidelined by injury, the Predators faced the Philadelphia Flyers without their most experienced blue liners – and how. Not only do Weber (554 games) and Klein (382 games) have more NHL experience than any defenseman on the roster, each has more NHL experience than the six who played in that game combined.


Career NHL appearances prior to Saturday

Roman Josi 116
Ryan Ellis 88
Victor Bartley 44
Seth Jones 26
Mattias Ekholm 21
Joe Piskula 10
Total: 305

“It gives everyone a chance to play more,” center David Legwand said. “I think you saw that [Saturday] night. Everyone got a chance to play a little more and did the right things and did a good job, I think. Obviously, the [defense] corps stepped up.”

Adding to the intrigue of it all was the overwhelming experience of Philadelphia’s defense, which included Kimmo Timonen, who in his own right had 573 appearances for Nashville from 1998-99 through 2006-07.

Career NHL appearances prior to Saturday

Kimmo Timonen 1040
Braydon Coburn 518
Mark Streit 516
Nicklas Grossman 410
Luke Schenn 379
Matt Read 145

The Predators did not win but did not embarrass themselves either. In the 3-2 shootout defeat they outshot the Flyers 36-24, their largest positive shot differential in 14 games and just the second time in eight games Philadelphia managed fewer than 30 shots.

“It was just ‘simplify,’” Ryan Ellis said. “I think that was the biggest thing – keep it simple. They have a lot of offense over there. Especially for the young guys it was just keep it simple, make the obvious play and leave it up to our forwards to battle down low [in the offensive end].

“I think we did a great job of maintaining some zone time and getting some chances.”

And they all got a little more experience.