Game Preview: Flames vs Nashville Predators

CALGARY FLAMES (11-12-4 26 points) vs. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (11-13-6 28 points) GAME 28

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames will look to end their 7-game winless streak (0-6-1) on the road when they head into Nashville to visit the struggling Predators. This is the second meeting between the clubs in less than a week after the Flames had a convincing 6-3 win over the Preds last Friday at the Saddledome.

As usual, the Flames continue to be their unpredictable selves. After getting off to a slow start at home and playing well on the road to start the season, things have done a complete 360. The Flames, as mentioned, have not won on the road in seven games, while riding a six game home winning streak.

The Flames latest casualty on the road came Monday night against the Stars, falling 4-3 after a slow start which saw them down 3-0 and getting outshot 12-5 after the 1st period.

This will be the Flames second game of their three game road trip and their first game of a back-to-back as they will head off to Columbus following tonight’s game to face the surprising red-hot Blue Jackets.

Miikka Kiprusoff will return in between the pipes tonight after missing the game in Dallas to stay home for the birth of his son.

Things are not going any smoother in the ‘Music City’; the Predators are 2-7-1 in their last ten games and are currently on a four-game skid.

On a positive note, much like the Flames, the Predators have enjoyed success in their home building with a 6-2-4 record and will play 11 of their next 14 games on home ice.

Pekka Rinne is expected to get the start for the Preds.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Predators:

1- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI -IGINLA                          1- BOURQUE-LEGWAND-BECK

2- HUDLER-BACKLUND-COMEAU                             2- ERAT-FISHER-KOSTITSYN

3- GLENCROSS-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                      3- YIP-SPALING-BUTLER

4- JACKMAN-BEGIN-McGRATTAN                             4- CLUNE-MUELLER-HALISCHUK

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-BRODIE                                      1- WEBER-JOSI

2- WIDEMAN-GIRODANO                                           2- BARTLEY-KLEIN

3- SARICH-BUTLER                                                    3- ELLIS-BLUM

 

1- KIRPUSOFF                                                            1- RINNE

2- MacDONALD                                                           2- MASON

 

EXTRA- SMITH, CERVENKA, BABCHUK                   EXTRA- SMITH

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Predators: D- Hal Gill (Lower Body- IR), RW- Patric Hornqvist (Upper Body- IR), C- Colin Wilson (Upper Body- IR), C- Paul Gaustad (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), D- Scott Hannan (Upper Body- Day-to-Day)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

27

9

13

22

-7

M. Cammalleri

24

9

13

22

-7

L. Stempniak

27

7

14

21

7

J. Iginla

27

7

13

20

-3

C. Glencross

25

12

7

19

-2

 

Predators

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

C. Wilson

25

7

12

19

1

S. Weber

30

5

13

18

6

M. Fisher

30

7

7

14

6

D. Legwand

30

6

8

14

-2

M. Erat

29

3

10

13

-5

 

PP-

Flames: 21.6% (8th)

Predators: 18.1% (17th)

PK-

Flames: 77.1% (28th)

Predators: 77.6% (27th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

30

24

3

3

51

2. ANAHEIM

29

22

3

4

48

3. MINNESOTA

29

17

10

2

36

4. LOS ANGELES

29

17

10

2

36

5. ST. LOUIS

29

16

11

2

34

6. VANCOUVER

29

14

9

6

34

7. DETROIT

30

14

11

5

33

8. SAN JOSE

29

13

10

6

32

 

9. PHOENIX

30

13

13

4

30

10. COLUMBUS

30

12

12

6

30

11. DALLAS

29

13

13

3

29

12. EDMONTON

29

11

11

7

29

13. NASHVILLE

30

11

13

6

28

14. CALGARY

27

11

12

4

26

15. COLORADO

29

11

14

4

26

 

MY TAKE:

These are two desperate teams, in dire need for points.

It is the same story here in Calgary with trade rumors and speculation making more headlines than the actual game is.

From people I have talked to, majority of them do not have a problem with the Flames struggles this season, they are sick of mediocrity and want change.

Moral of the story, 10th place is not fun anymore.

On the other side, getting to watch Nashville a lot last week with them being on their western Canada road trip, they definitely are not the usual Barry Trotz over-achievers sitting comfy in a playoff spot this season.

They have always struggled to score goals, but to watch them struggle to keep the puck out of their own net, losing 7-4 to the Canucks and 6-3 to the Flames on back-to-back nights, is rare.

I am sure Trotz has had many sleepless nights, trying to figure out what is going wrong with his club.

Sergei Kostitsyn will draw back into the line-up tonight, with the Preds hoping for some offensive punch but his horrible, disastrous line change last week has been the icing on the cake for the Predators struggles these last couple of weeks.

http://youtu.be/5i_7s45q7wc

(Yea, nice goal by the Oilers but how do neither of the Oilers broadcasters mention Kostitsyn's change? Homers...)

It is a battle between the 13th and 14th place teams in the West; they both need the two points.

Who will be more desperate?

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon