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Game 28: Nashville @ Calgary – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


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Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Amazingly, this is the first meeting of these two teams this year completing the lineup of Western Conference teams the Predators have faced this season. The Predators have an average start for the month of March while the Flames are tied for last in the West (Colorado) but only four points behind the Predators. The Flames are riding the middle of the seesaw in March going 3-3-0.

Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla are displaying veteran leadership by example in pacing the Flames in points (20 & 19 respectively). Mike Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross lead Calgary with 9 goals while Matt Stajan leads the team with a +9 rating. The plus/minus stat for the Calgary Flames is a glaring example of why the Flames are struggling this season. Only two players on the entire roster have a positive plus/minus rating (Stajan and Stempniak +6), all other players are at 0 or below with two players at -8 (leading scorers Iginla and Cammalleri).

The goaltending situation has been a M.A.S.H. unit of serviceable talent. Kiprusoff continues to get the majority of the starts, but out of the four goalies that have played for the Flames this season only Leland Irving has a winning record (2-1-1). So far in 11 starts, long time netminder Kiprusoff has a very high GAA and SV% (3.30, .878). Typically it is the efforts of Kipper that keeps the Flames in many of their close games so his lackluster backstopping has been another cause for concern alongside the lack of defense.

The Predators have some solid wins and even more solid goaltending with Rinne only allowing one goal in three games before playing the Canucks. Halischuk’s hustle and effort was awarded against Vancouver with a goal, but a serious defensive gaffe by Hannan led to the opening goal by Ebbett, his first goal of the year.

Erat and Legwand still need to step up offensively and defensively in the absence of Wilson and Hornqvist. The younger forwards like Bourque and Smith continue to drive the play and attempt to generate scoring opportunities. The deeper lines for the Predators are also providing the much needed energy and timely scoring that Trotz’ scoring-by-committee approach warrants.

Most likely, Mason will get the start against the reeling Flames, especially with Rinne getting lit up by the Vancouver Canucks and Mason jumping in for relief. Mason will give Rinne some much needed rest, but his play against the Flames could be just the change Nashville needs to right the ship after playing the Canucks. The Predators historically play better in front of a back-up goaltender.

Game time is at 8:00 P.M. Central time and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed locally on FS Tennessee. If you like what you’re reading or have questions/comments feel free to write us below or follow us on Twitter @Preducated and @ThePredatorial.

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