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Preview: Calgary Flames @ Nashville Predators 3/23/17 (74/82)

Like the rest of the games this season, this is a big one as only 3 points separate the Flames and Predators in the Wild Card standings.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames @ Nashville Predators, 6 PM MT, Bridgestone Arena Nashville TN
Broadcast Schedule
Radio: Sportsnet 960

The Flames run through the West to the playoffs begins tonight as Calgary hits the ice in Nashville to take on the Predators. All of Calgary’s remaining games are HUGE contests against teams from within the conference that will have major playoff implications (OK, not the Avs game). The Flames are currently 6th in the West and they hold the first WC spot, 3 points ahead of the Predators. A win tonight against Nashville would create some needed separation between the two teams as Calgary looks down the barrel of the hardest part of their schedule to date. Since January 26th the Flames are 17-4-1 and have shown they are legit playoff contenders, but the remaining games on their schedule will prove if they can truly hang with the big boys. Tonight’s game in Nashville could be one step closer to clinching a spot or a bump in the road that will really test this team’s mettle.

The Preds comes into tonight’s contest nipping at the Flames heels. Holding the final WC spot, Nashville has won 4 out their last 5 to vault back into the playoff hunt. The Predators closed out the month of February winning 4 straight and immediately followed that up by losing 4 straight to start the month of March. Nashville has a decidedly easier schedule to close out the season and could make a solid run at the Flames if they get hot.

The Flames run of 10 in a row started with a 6-5 OT win over Nashville back on February 21st. The season series is an even split right now with Nashville having taken the first game of the year 4-3. While the Flames have a sub .500 record at Nashville (15-18-1), they have won 4 straight when visiting the Predators. Calgary will still be without Matthew Tkachuk as he serves the 2nd game of his two game suspension for elbowing Drew Doughty and Micheal Ferland appears to still be under observation for the mumps.

Here’s how the teams match-up:

Calgary Flames Nashville Predators
41-28-4 Record 36-25-11
86 Points 83
4th Pacific Division 4th Central
6th West Conference 8th West
3-2-0 Last 5 4-1-0
199 Goals For 210
195 Goals Against 198
Monahan (24) Goals Forsberg (29)
Gaudreau (53) Points Johansen (55)
Tkachuk (96) PIM Watson (97)
Johnson (.912) Save % Saros (.927)
19.6 (14th) PP % 20.2 (11th)
80.7 (14th) PK % 79.9 (20th)
Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)
Player Record GAA Save %
Flames: Johnson (E) 18-14-1 2.58 .912
Predators: Rinne (E) 28-16-8 2.51 .915

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 Washington Capitals 4

The Flames last hit the ice on Tuesday night and saw Brian Elliott’s 11 game winning streak come to an end. Calgary dropped a 4-2 decision to the Washington Capitals, ending the goaltender’s impressive run. Elliott stopped 36 of the 40 shots he faced, but the Flames as a whole couldn’t stop the powerful Capitals. Here’s our recap and the game highlights.

Nashville Predators 3 Arizona Coyotes 1

Nashville won for the 4th time in five tries as they bested the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 Monday night. The Predators got a 2 goal night from Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne stopped 25 of the 26 shots that came his way to earn his 28th win of the season. On The Forecheck has the recap and provides the highlights.

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Giordano (D). The Flames captain has been coming on lately getting 4 points in his last 3 contests. Gio’s defence has been more than solid all season, but his offence has dropped a bit. If the Flames can squeeze a little extra offence out of their blue line leader, it’s a bonus that they’ll gladly take. Giordano has 34 points on the season and has a goal and an assist against Nashville this year.

Nashville Predators

NHL: Nashville Predators at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Ellis (D). The 5 year veteran has 34 points on the season as well, and like Giordano, has pumped in 4 points in 2 out of his last 3 games. Ellis also has had success against the Flames this season. The defenceman has 2 goals and 1 assist in the Predators two games against the Flames this year.