NASHVILLE - The momentum the Flyers built with three straight road wins was halted by the three-day holiday break and the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
The Flyers' passing wasn't sharp, their special teams were atrocious, and they didn't come close to scoring on a five-on-three advantage for the first 58 seconds of the second period.
As a result, they dropped a 4-1 decision to Nashville and star goalie Pekka Rinne at Bridgestone Arena, enabling Predators coach Peter Laviolette to win his first matchup against his former team.
Entering the night, Nashville had been just 2 for 48 (4.2 percent) in home power plays, but the Predators were 3 for 5 (60 percent) on Saturday.
"I thought we did a lot of good things five-on-five, and it really did come down to special teams," said goalie Ray Emery, who was screened on two of the three power-play goals.
"We have to do a better job of blocking shots," defenseman Luke Schenn said about the penalty kill, which is ranked near the bottom in the NHL. "You get lit up for three power-play goals, and it's the difference in the game."
Coach Craig Berube said the way the teams executed in their respective five-on-three advantages was the telling point.
"We didn't get a whole lot generated, and they scored on theirs," he said.
Berube said the Predators had "too much zone time" on all of their power plays. "We didn't make some clears that we should have, and a couple times we made the wrong read. We didn't break enough plays up."
Nashville began the game with the NHL's second-to-worst power play, but its three power-play goals were as many as it had in the previous 14 games combined. The Predators had three power-play goals in the first two periods to build a 3-1 lead.
Colin Wilson iced the win with an empty-net goal with 3 minutes, 18 seconds left.
After Claude Giroux used Jake Voracek as a decoy on a two-on-one and knotted the score at 1 with 13:10 left in the second period, Nashville capitalized on a five-on-three (Mike Fisher) and ensuing five-on-four (Wilson) to take a 3-1 lead. The goals were scored 38 seconds apart, giving the Predators a two-goal cushion with 5:25 to go in the second.
Fisher scored on his second rebound after a wild scramble in front of goalie Ray Emery, and Wilson scored on a left-circle blast to the far right corner. Emery, screened by James Neal, never saw the shot.
In the first two periods, the Flyers were 0 for 3 on the power play - they looked out of sync and were reluctant to shoot - while the Predators were 3 for 4.
It was the Flyers' first game against Laviolette since he was fired early last season and took the Predators job this year.
Earlier in the day, Laviolette said he only wanted to take questions about the game. Laviolette has not talked publicly about his firing 14 months ago.
Like he has done with the Islanders, Carolina, and the Flyers in his first years with those clubs, Laviolette has the Predators playing well. They improved to 23-9-2.
"I think you always recognize where your old stomping grounds are, but I don't think that matters as much as our team being ready coming off the break - and how we execute and the energy we play with," Laviolette, 50, said after the morning skate. "All that will factor into the game, not my previous locations that I've stopped at."
Laviolette deflected all questions about his Flyers tenure.
"He finds a way to get all the guys on the same page and kind of brings them together," Giroux said before the game, in which he scored his fourth goal in the last four games.
After the game, Laviolette said there was no extra satisfaction in beating his former team.
"It's a big win for our team. That was the goal. That was the objective," he aid.
Before the holiday break, the Flyers started the road trip by beating Toronto, 7-4; Winnipeg, 4-3, in overtime; and Minnesota, 5-2.
They continue their eight-game trip in Arizona on Monday before making stops in Colorado, Carolina, and New Jersey. None of those teams took a winning record into Saturday.