Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images
Some would say that the games between the Nashville Predators and the Calgary Flames are a snooze fest. Other would argue that it is two defensive-minded teams in a chess match to see who will make the first mistake. What it boils down to is an exciting and frustrating game where neither team is willing to give an inch and one small mistake could be the game winner.
This Year’s Series: 1-1-0 (0-0-0 Home, 1-1-0 Away)
This Season’s Video Recaps:
Nov. 29 2011:
Oct. 22 2011:
Looking at the Flames: Speaking of heating things up, Jarome Iginla has been on a hot streak since last week and was named the NHL’s first star of the week posting 4 goals and 9 points in his last five games. This kind of leadership from the captain and the offensive surge has brought the Flames within sniffing distance of the 8th spot, only two points behind the Predators.
Miikka Kiprusoff is still shouldering the majority of the workload and has a respectable 14-9-1 record while sporting a 2.40 GAA and a .916 SV%.
Looking at the Predators: The Predators are riding high coming off a complete game against a lowly Ducks squad. In his first game back from a two-game suspension, Jordin Tootoo scored the eventual game-winner with a sweet wrist shot while driving hard to the net. The Predators have now won two games in a row and the PP keeps on clicking at 20.4%, tied for 3rd in the NHL.
Somewhat disconcerting is the sending down of Jonathan Blum.
The Predators defenseman was sent down to Milwaukee in order to get some much needed playing time, while Roman Josi, fresh off his first NHL goal, is staying in Nashville to pair with Hillen.
For the Flames to win: Follow the captain’s lead. Jarome Iginla is leading the way for the multitude of talent at Calgary’s disposal. They have to find a way to crack Rinne’s play as of late and do so without taking any needless penalties.
Even with the resurgence of offensive production from the Flames, it will still be a battle of coaches. Line changes will need to be crisp and everyone must remain defensively responsible since both games this year have been ultra-tight affairs. Rene Bourque and Lee Stempniak need to add some spark and points to the team. Tanguay could also be a nemesis for the Predators as he may be due to start a scoring spree.
For the Predators to win: Beating the Western Conference two worst teams isn’t saying much, but the Predators can build off playing a full 60 minute effort against the Anaheim Ducks. After having two goals waved off, this may have chipped away at the resolve of the Predators but instead Nashville built on the misfortune and started to out gain their opponent and win out 3-2.
Pekka Rinne is building more and more confidence with every game he plays. He must remain rock-solid against a formidable offensive threat in the Calgary Flames and he must out-duel a very capable netminder in Miikka Kiprusoff. Having 9 out of 14 games in December at home, the Predators need to feed off the energy of Bridgestone Arena and turn what has been a mediocre home record into an above .500 record throughout the holiday season.
If you like what I have listed out here or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to let me know on Twitter…@Preducated
Stay HardCore, friends