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Game 46: Calgary @ Nashville – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


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Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It’s the best of the worst as Calgary comes to town to take on Nashville in the battle of the non-playoff eligible. The Flames are 3 points ahead of the Predators, good for 12th in the Conference. The more Calgary plays spoiler to teams like the Red Wings, whom they beat last Wednesday, the lower their draft position becomes.

Nashville is faced with a conundrum of sorts: Does Nashville give their fans and all the people that stood by them this season one last win in front of the home crowd? Or does Nashville get over-matched once again and succumb to raising their draft status another position?

Calgary is a winner of three games in a row, beating playoff contention teams in Detroit, Minnesota and the cream of the Pacific, Anaheim Ducks. The Flames have a very impressive group of forwards putting some serious points on the board. To put it in perspective, the Flames have five players who have scored more than the top Nashville Predator (Shea Weber with 24). Cammalleri is leading the Flames with 32 points and is second in goals with 13. Curtis Glencross paces the team with 15 goals, but even with the offensive prowess, the Flames lack defense in a major way. There are only six players on the squad with a plus/minus of zero or better. While leading the team in points, Cammalleri also leads the team in a bad way with the lowest +/- (-14).

Kiprusoff has two of the last three wins allowing only 3 goals in those games. Joey McDonald played admirably against the Minnesota Wild giving up one goal in a 4-1 Flames win. Kiprusoff, the mainstay between the pipes for Calgary may finally have had time catch up to him. His numbers have been steadily worse every season and for good reason. Calgary relies so heavily on the netminder, he typically leads the league in minutes and starts in a season and the wear and tear could prove to be the undoing of the Flames. McDonald is showing signs of steady play as the only Flames goalie with a winning record this year. It’s possible that the Flames may have a decent 1A/1B tandem for the future…how long a future all depends on Kiprusoff.

The Predators are finally getting some time off to gel and coalesce into some sort of competitive hockey club. The effort shown against the best in the league, Chicago Blackhawks, on Friday night proved that the Predators still have some fire albeit in small doses. Bobby Butler has been awesome (3G, 1A) in his last four games and that compete level will be a huge factor in his possible return to the Predators next season (would be a great 3rd/4th line player to keep).

Craig Smith is continuing to struggle in epically bad proportions. He has yet to register a point since March 17th. He has the team’s worst plus/minus at -13. He is looking similar to how Colin Wilson looked a few seasons ago. Wilson improved after some pine-riding and hopefully Craig Smith can benefit from the press box angle as well. With Bobby Butler, Taylor Beck and Filip Forsberg looking to impress for roster consideration next year, Smith will have to develop much like Wilson and find his stride sooner than later.

Pekka Rinne hasn’t won a game since April 2nd (my birthday, thanks Peks). Since then he has allowed 21 goals in seven games; 10 in his last two games. He hasn’t had much goal support either with the Predators only scoring 12 goals in the same seven games. It must be frustrating for the elite Finnish netminder to be so on top of his game for the most part only to see a 30-35 save and one-goal allowed be the game-winner: four times.

Here’s hoping the Predators can give the home fans one last “Hurrah” and maybe play spoiler to Detroit and Columbus’ chances for post-season appearances late this week.

Game time is at 7:00 P.M. Central and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed locally on Fox Sports 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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Stay HardCore…