Somehow, games between the Flames and Predators always seem to end up on the dull side of things and, with the exception of a few games in recent memory, have typically been low-scoring contests. That was no different tonight, as the Flames and Preds played to a scoreless tie through sixty before Rene Bourque, in his first game back from a head injury got one past Pekka Rinne in extra time. The Flames outshot Nashville 30-21 at ES, but the Preds padded their totals on special teams, where they accumulated ten shots on five PP opportunities and generated three shorthanded chances, while the Flames directed only two shots on net on two powerplays.
I missed the first period of the game, but it appears to have been fairly, with both teams generating twelve shots on goal through the first twenty. In the second, the Preds used their three powerplay opportunities (one of which came on an absolutely nonsensical interference call on Jay Bouwmeester) to double up on the Flames 12-6 on the shot clock, with Kiprusoff making several key saves to preserve the tie. In the third, the Flames managed to stay out of the box and kept pressing, eventually getting some quality scoring chances on Rinne--including a Matt Stajan shot that hit the post with just minutes to go in the final frame--and outshooting the Preds 14-10. The Flames would come into extra time ready to play, firing two shots on goal in the opening two minutes before Rene Bourque's wrist shot off a rebound beat a screened Rinne for his first of the season and the Flames' third victory.
- Bourque was all over the place in this game, playing 17:03 in his return from a two-game absence. He started on the third line with Glencross and Backlund, facing what appears to be Nashville's second line trio, before spending some time with Jarome Iginla and finally, hitting the ice with Brendan Morrison on 4-on-4 in OT. He finished tied with Mikael Backlund for the most shots of any Flames forward with four, and was especially good at controlling the puck down low in the offensive zone. The line of Glencross-Backlund-Bourque finished the evening +31 in Corsi, the best of any line, and 13-11 in scoring chances for and against. Hagman-Jokinen-Morrison were +28.
- As Kent points out in his scoring chances at FlamesNation, the Preds were very effective at shutting down the Flames' first line, as Iginla, Stajan, and Tanguay failed to build upon their dominant effort from Saturday's game. The line was +10 in Corsi and 11-5 in scoring chances--still a pretty decent evening for them, despite being held to only two shots and goal and zero points.
- Tim Jackman only played 6:14 in this game, all at ES, and finished -1 in terms of Corsi and scoring chances. After a decent start playing on the third line with Glencross and Backlund, it appears he has made his way into Brent Sutter's doghouse.
- I thought Jay Bouwmeester had a very nice game, and was very involved in the Flames' offensive attack, jumping into the rush several times, and once alongside Jarome Iginla on a 2-on-1. He accumulated four shots on goal, finished +8 in Corsi, and 6-2 in scoring chances for and against. Steve Staios, surprisingly, finished on the positive side of things tonight for the first time this season.
- Mark Giodano played his 200th NHL game tonight--very impressive for a defenceman who was never drafted and spent a year playing in Russia. Now management just need to work on getting him locked up long term...
- Craig Conroy was "clutch," for lack of a better term, on the PK this evening, drawing cheers from the M&G crowd in the comments for his giant shot-block and subsequent clearing of the puck on a Nashville PP in the third period
- The Flames are amongst the early leaders in shots for, currently ranked fourth after five games, accumulating 35.4 shots per game. If they can keep it up, more goals should hopefully follow.
- Finally, Kiprusoff made 34 saves for the 35th shutout of his career tonight, and was rightfully listed as the game's first star. He didn't necessarily have to steal this game for the Flames, but it could have been a different outcome if he wasn't on his game.