After walloping the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Wednesday night (thank you, Jonas Gustavsson), the Flames take on the Nashville Predators tonight at the 'Dome.
The Nashville Predators were on the rough side of a semi-lopsided 7-4 loss to the Vancouver Canucks last night, and will be looking to regain their form tonight in Calgary. The Flames lost three of four games to the Preds in 2011-12, and were out-scored 9-5 in the process. Both games in Calgary ended in shutouts, with the Flames winning 1-0 in one and Nashville taking the other contest by a score of 2-0.
The Predators that we saw last night were not exactly stingy on defence, however, and given that they're playing on back-to-back nights, that may very well be the case again tonight at the 'Dome. Pekka Rinne was pulled in favour of Chris Mason just over five minutes into the second period in last night's game against the Canucks, but it sounds like he will be back in goal tonight to face off against his Finnish countryman Miikka Kiprusoff, who put on quite the show against the Red Wings, making 36 saves in a game where the Flames were mostly outplayed.
For the Flames, the frustrating trend of out-playing one team and not getting the results they wanted and then being thoroughly outplayed only to have the bounces go their way continues. They were the better team in the third period of Monday's 3-1 loss against the Kings but couldn't find the tying goal to force OT, then it seemed everything was going in for them against the Wings when they only had 11 shots on goal after two periods of play.
So it's hard to know what to expect tonight. The Preds are just 3-6-1 in their past ten games and are four points up on the Flames in tenth place in the Western conference. Not surprisingly, Nashville has also had losses to the Kings and Ducks recently, two teams that have been on a roll in the West. They haven't been able to string two wins together since mid-February (both shutouts), and have been all over the map since then, losing 6-5 to the Avlanche, getting shutout by Detroit, and losing a barn-burner to the Canucks despite out-shooting then 33-22. Despite the fact that Nashville has lost by a somewhat significant margin twice in their past five games with Rinne in net, he also has two shutouts in those games (granted one was against Edmonton).
It sounds like the Preds and the Flames have a lot in common right now, which further diminishes the likelihood that this game will follow any sort of pre-determined script.
Here are your game-day links:
The opposing team's preview [On The Forecheck]. Speaking of OTF, staff writer Caroline Davis is looking for information on an article she wants to write about NHL players and ADD/ADHD. If you have any information you think might help her out, shoot her a Tweet or an email.
A lot of numbers about Jay Bouwmeester and Mark Giordano via the always excellent Tyler Dellow [Mc79hockey]
A cool if somewhat disheartening story about the first woman to coach a professional hockey team [Puck Daddy]
In case you missed it, the story of Larry Kwong, the first Chinese player ever to play (however briefly) in the NHL [The Globe and Mail]
See you all later!