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Calgary Flames @ Nashville Predators Game Preview: Over the Hump

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With seven games left on the schedule, the Flames don't have much more room for error. A tired and banged up Nashville team could provide them the spark that they need to continue the push into the playoffs. You've heard it for weeks, but here it is again: this is a must win.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames are now treading dangerous waters. With other bubble teams refusing to give an inch, the Flames have been jockeying for position in the standings for the past few weeks, and have begun to find themselves outside of the picture rather than in it. The Kings fortunately lost last night to Minnesota, giving the Flames the chance to leap them in the standings. It may be their last.

To remain in the playoffs, the Flames really really really have to play way better than they did in previous games. The last outing versus Minnesota was an absolute nightmare. The Flames were outplayed from start to finish, and the 4-2 scoreline was closer than the actual game was. Hopefully there's no repeat of that today, or any other day for that matter. Recap | Stats | Boxscore

On paper, today's opponent does not get much easier. The Nashville Predators have been killer all season, but the Flames have a few upper hands in this match. It's been so long since we've last seen the Preds, that Devin Setoguchi was in the lineup last time it happened. The Flames are 2-0 against them this season, winning 3-2 in the shootout way back on October 14th, and winning 4-3 on Halloween.

The Predators played last night, clinching a playoff spot in a 4-3 win versus the Capitals. Shea Weber is out day-to-day and Pekka Rinne played yesterday, so the Flames could have an easier outing. For more on the Predators, head on over to On the Forecheck.

Game Time: 3:00 PM

TV: SNW

All Time Record: It's a close one, with the Flames leading 28-27-4-2. The goal differential is -5 though, and it'd be nice if the Flames could even that out.

Common Threads: The Predators currently have former Flame Eric Nystrom, who once scored four goals against us. How did that happen? We still don't know. Speaking of history, there was also that one time Miikka Kiprusoff fought Tomas Vokoun.

Not really a common thread, but both teams have rookies competing for the Calder Trophy. Filip Forsberg currently leads the race with 23 goals, 36 assists, and 59 points. Johnny Gaudreau is not far behind  with 21 goals, 37 assists, and 58 points. Both are great players so far, but we'd all prefer it if Johnny Hockey mercilessly runs over Forsberg today.

Approaching Milestones:

Game countdown: Jiri Hudler is two games away from 600, Mikael Backlund is nine away from 300, Rafael Diaz is two away from 200, and Lance Bouma is six away from 200. Karri Ramo is seven wins away from 50

David Jones is eight goals away from number 100, and TJ Brodie is just one point away from 100 points. Let's hope he gets that today!

On the other side, Anton Volchenkov is seven games away from 700, Cody Franson is five away from 400, Ryan Ellis is four away from 200, and Filip Forsberg is nine away from 100.

Mike Riberio is two assists away from 500, and Colin Wilson picked up his 100th assist last night, so kudos to him! Shea Weber is also eight points away from 400.

Scoreboard Watching:

  • Winnipeg just does not want to stop winning. Chicago needs to take them down a peg (no pun intended)

Current Records and Leaders

Calgary Flames Nashville Predators
Record: 40-28-7: 87 points Record: 47-21-8: 102 points
Pacific Division: 4th Central Division: 1st
Western Conference: 9th Western Conference: 2nd
Goal Differential: +20 Goal Differential: +35
Time on ice
Defence: Mark Giordano (25:10 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:36 per game)
Defence: Roman Josi (26:27 per game)
Forward: Mike Riberio (18:38 per game)
Points
Goals: Sean Monahan (29)
Assists: Jiri Hudler (39)
Points: Jiri Hudler (66)
Goals: Craig Smith (23)
Assists: Mike Riberio (43)
Points: Mike Riberio (57)
Shots
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (179)
Shooting percentage: Jiri Hudler (19.1%)
Shots on goal: Craig Smith (231)
Shooting percentage: Mike Fisher (16.8%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (49.9%, 1678 taken) Paul Gaustad  (56.5%, 987 taken)
Grit
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (68)
Hits: Lance Bouma (249)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (262)
Penalty minutes: Shea Weber(72)
Hits: Cody Franson (170)
Blocked shots: Roman Josi (204)
ES Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (48.44%, 61 GP)
Josh Jooris (47.04%,55 GP)
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.45%, 55 GP)
Mark Giordano (48.60%, 61 GP)
Corsi for%: Mike Riberio (56.74%, 76 GP)
Filip Forsberg (56.62%, 76 GP)
Fenwick for%: Filip Forsberg (56.72%, 76 GP)
Ryan Ellis (56.41%, 52 GP)

Probable Starting Lineups

Markus Granlund may slot out tonight for Micheal Ferland due to illness. Paul Byron completes the Killer B's line today, having been promoted to second line duty with Backlund and Bouma. Definitely an upgrade over David Jones, who complements the Bollig-free fourth line. 12 functional forwards is always wonderful.

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Mikael Backlund Paul Byron
Michael Ferland
Josh Jooris
Joe Colborne
Mason Raymond
Matt Stajan David Jones
Left Defence Right Defence
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
TJ Brodie Deryk Engelland
David Schlemko Rafa Diaz
Goalies
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

Nashville Predators
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Filip Forsberg
Mike Riberio
Craig Smith
Colin Wilson
Mike Fisher
Viktor Stalberg
Mike Santorelli
Calle Jarnkrok
Viktor Arvidsson
Taylor Beck
Paul Gaustad
Gabriel Bourque
Left Defence Right Defence
Roman Josi
Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm
Cody Franson
Ryan Ellis
Anton Volchenkov
Goalies
Carter Hutton
Pekka Rinne