The Predators started out by applying pressure early, maintaining control of the puck through most of the first part of the game. Brian McGrattan, of all people, took the first shot of the game for the Flames, putting the puck right into the chest of Preds netminder Carter Hutton. Matt Stajan gave the Preds their first man advantage of the night just 5:30 into the game, when he interfered with Eric Nystrom. Nashville controlled the puck for most of the power play, but Ramo kept it scoreless with three NHL difficulty-level saves. Jiri Hudler stopped a point blank shot by the opposition by tying up Nystrom's stick just six feet in front of Ramo. Matt Stajan gave Nashville a second man advantage at 14:30 for interference. This time, the Flames paid when Shea Weber lined a one-timer from the far edge of the left faceoff circle. Assists went to Roman Josi and David Legwand. Hudler and Lee Stempniak played catch with the puck for a few quality chances with three minutes remaining in the period, and TJ Galiardi made a steal in the Nashville zone, hitting Lance Bouma in stride on a breakaway chance that sadly was turned aside. Stempniak wouldn't stay quiet for much longer, though, when he scored his first goal in 17 games and his seventh of the season with a minute left before intermission. Hudler and Brodie were credited with well-deserved assists as the teams hit the locker rooms.
First period notes
- Boy, that Hornqvist guy isn't half bad, huh?
- Ramo looks like he's still riding the high from his first career shutout last night.
- Man, how long has Barry Trotz been coaching in the NHL? Seems like forever.
- Is it just me, or do the Preds have a lot in common with the Flames this season? Both have a hard time scoring. Both are relying on an untested goaltending duo, and both look like better days are ahead.
Second Period Notes
- The Predators took the first six shots of the period, while Calgary didn't get a shot-on-goal until there were 6 minutes gone.
- It's impossible to overstate Shea Weber's importance to this Nashville team.
- I think I saw seven icing penalties in the last seven minutes of the period.
Nashville took the lead just 55 seconds into the third when Ryan Ellis lit the lamp for the second time this season with a wide open slapshot from right between the faceoff circles. 22 seconds later, the Flames would be forced into a penalty kill when Paul Byron was called for tripping. After a pair of clears, Craig Smith doubled the Predators lead when he tucked home a rebound past a sprawling Ramo. Shea Weber was called for an obvious penalty when he yanked down TJ Brodie (there may have been embellishment) with four minutes gone in the frame. Mark Giordano scored a few seconds later - but it was waved off on the ice when the linesman judged that he had knocked it in with a high stick. The rest of the power play passed without incident. Nashville further extended their lead to three at 10:52 with a long goal by Viktor Stalberg (6). Mikael Backlund (8) got one back with seven minutes remaining with an outstanding effort to beat Hutton on his stick side. Hudler and Giordano were credited with assists, but if you were watching, you know this one was all Backlund. The Flames pulled the goalie with two minutes left, narrowly avoiding an empty netter before Seth Jones and Mikael Backlund locked up in Greco-Roman fashion, spilling to the ice just in front of the Preds goal. Both players were given two minute minors - with 54.7 seconds left. The two teams finished out the game four-on-four.
Third Period Notes
- The SNW broadcast informed me that Jiri Hudler is leading the Western Conference with 13.7% of Calgary's points. The more you know.
- The Preds just - flipped the switch early in the third. I'll bet the Flames sleep good on the plane.
- I've got the center ice package, and they usually don't carry the SNW broadcast. You guys are suffering through the most annoying commercials that I've seen in years.