(Photo by: John Russel/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators snapped their four game losing streak to start a four game home stand. Nashville defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 after a slow start in the first period. However, the Predators were able earn two much need points. “We had no quit,” said defenseman Kevin Klein. “We could have [been] down on ourselves, but we didn’t. We showed great team character.”
“Everyone contributed,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “We had a good couple saves by Rinne when we need it. It was a good team effort.”
This win gives fans hope that the Preds can make the playoffs if this starts a winning streak. The key to Nashville’s victory Thursday night was the contribution from the Martin Erat-Mike Fisher-Sergei Kostitsyn line, which has struggled as of late. Combined, Erat and Fisher totaled five points.
The Predators’ power play ended up killing them most of the first period rather than helping them. 5:11 in, Matt Stajan stole the puck from Roman Josi at the blueline while the Preds had the man advantage. Stajan took the puck to the top of the circle, stopped and passed to Mark Giordano entering the Nashville zone. Giordano one-timed the puck past Pekka Rinne to take an early 1-0 lead shorthanded.
(Photo by: John Russell/Getty Images)
Richard Clune and Steve Begin dropped the gloves 9:16 in. Clune was able to get a couple punches in, but the engagement happened so fast that Begin’s stick was in the middle of the two throwing fists. The fight ignited the Predators and led to a goal.
Josi was able to make up for his mistake by setting up a power play goal just over the halfway point of the period. The Swiss defenseman was able to keep the puck in the zone by extending his stick to block the clear out. After cycling the puck, it returned to Josi who shot on net. Martin Erat was able to deflect Josi's shot past Miikka Kiprusoff to tie the game up at one.
Because Mikael Backlund served a double minor for a high-sticking call, the Predators continued on the power play.
Calgary answered back less than two minutes later shorthanded, once again. Jay Bouwmeester entered the zone on the rush and was able to hand the puck off to Giordano, who took the puck to the near circle and passed to Blake Comeau on the back door. Comeau was able to redirect the puck past Rinne to regain the lead.
The goal was a bit controversial because the Flames made a line change too quickly. If the referee would have caught them on the change, they would have been called for too many men on the ice.
Just before the dying minutes of the first, Mike Fisher tied the game up at two thanks to Martin Erat, who stole the puck behind the net from a Calgary defenseman. Erat quickly backhanded the puck to Fisher in the slot, who snapped it past the keeper glove side.
After an exciting first period filled with all types of goals and a fight, the score was 2-2 heading to the locker room.
The second period went the Preds way, giving them their first lead in over 216 hours. Credit Fisher for making it happen 13:24 in by scoring his second goal of the game. Josi’s pass through the slot was able to get to Fisher, who easily tapped the puck into the net.
A minute later, Nick Spaling deflected Victor Bartley’s shot, which went into the net to give the home team a two goal lead. The goal was reviewed by the referee because of the suspicion of goaltender interference, but there clearly was none. With the goal standing, Calgary head coach Bob Hartley was left angry with his hands in the air.
Nashville had plenty of other chances to score and could have extended their lead to four before the period ended. Josi had two chances with one hitting the crossbar and another with him missing a wide open net with Kiprusoff down and out.
Before the period ended, David Legwand fell on top of Kiprusoff after the whistle going for the loose puck. Kiprusoff wasn’t fond of it and punched Legwand in the back.
The second period ended with the Preds having a manageable two goal lead before entering the third, where they traded off goals.
Brandon Yip was able to extend Nashville’s lead to three 15:54 in. Kevin Klein flew into the offensive zone and passed to Yip crashing the net. Yip was able to slide the puck past Kiprusoff’s five-hole. “[Brandon Yip] brings it every night with his physical play,” said Klein, who had the assist on the goal. “It is one of those things when you like to see a guy get rewarded.”
The Flames threw the kitchen sink at the Predators before leaving Nashville. With the extra attacker and on the power play, Jarome Iginla, who was quite all night, was able to score on Rinne on the back door step. However, that was the only goal the Flames could muster up before the end. The Predators won the game 5-3.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#34 Miikka Kiprusoff
Predators Scratches: #15 C Craig Smith and #22 D Scott Hannan (upper body)
Flames Scratches: #10 C Roman Cervenka, #27 D Derek Smith and #33 D Anton Babchuk
Smith scratched: Head coach Barry Trotz continued his message sending by scratching Craig Smith. Trotz has been focusing on the youngsters as of late so they can get back on their game and Smith happens to be the latest victim.
With the worst +/- as a forward, it is long overdue for Smith to sit out a game. Also, he has had a scoring problem this season by scoring only three games in 30 games, which isn’t what the organization has hoped out of him.
Kostitsyn in: After a huge brain fart Sunday in Edmonton and being a healthy scratch Tuesday in Columbus, Sergei Kostitsyn returned to the ice with a purpose. He knows he is in the doghouse, but hopes to get out quickly. After the game, Trotz said he was happy with Kostitsyn’s performance, which is a huge plus towards getting out of the infamous doghouse. However, after having 17:17 of ice time, he was held pointless despite his line mates totaling five points.
Goals and Assists
1-0 CGY: SH Mark Giordano – Stempniak at 5:01 in the 1st
1-1 tie: PP Martin Erat – Josi and Butler at 11:36 in the 1st
2-1 CGY: SH Blake Comeau – Giordano and Bouwmeester at 13:05 in the 1st
2-2 tie: Mike Fisher – Erat at 18:09 in the 1st
2-3 NSH: Mike Fisher (2) – Josi (2) and Erat (2) at 13:24 in the 2nd
2-4 NSH: Nick Spaling – Bartley and Klein at 14:24 in the 2nd
2-5 NSH: Brandon Yip – Klein (2) and Clune at 15:54 in the 3rd
3-5 CGY: PP Jarome Iginla – Glencross and Tanguay at 19:00 in the 3rd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Martin Erat: Goal and 2 Assists
2. Mike Fisher: 2 Goals and 1 Assist
3. Mark Giordano: Goal and Assist