Not like it was an offensive showcase at the Bridgestone Arena (how many times has that place changed names?), but it’s two points and consecutive points for the Calgary Flames. Rene Bourque scored 2:10 into overtime to supply the only offence in a 1-0 Calgary win as the Flames move above the .500 mark for the first time this season.
It was basically the same game from start to finish, with both teams going back and forth. Nashville’s powerplay in the first period gave them a slight chance advantage, but shots were even at 12 following twenty minutes. The second period was much the same, with a few more chances on the man advantage…Calgary went 0/2 on the man advantage while the Preds were unable to score on three second period powerplays. The save of the game came in the second period coming from Miikka Kiprusoff when he slid across to close the door on a wide open chance from Martin Erat. Shots finished 12-6 in favour of Nashville.
I liked the Flames start to the third period, as they were skating and getting pucks towards the net, generating some of their better chances of the game. Things shifted back towards even for most of that third period, and shots finished 14-10 on the Flames side. Calgary had a nice push late in the final frame, and carried that into the extra frame…the Flames fired three shots on net including Bourque’s winner set up after a Morrison opportunity.
It was an even game, and the most competitive game these teams have played in Tennessee in quite some time. Scoring chances finished 17-12 in favour of the Preds, however even strength number slanted 11-8 for the Flames. As Kent pointed out, the Preds did a nice job limiting damage 5-on-5 and tried to gain some traction on the powerplay. Unforunately, the loss of defenceman Ryan Suter early in the first period paid it’s dividends, as the Nashville man advantage finished 0 for 5. That being said, don’t discount the job Calgary did on the PK.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Well…this is a tough one. There are a number of little things the Flames did well in this game, but really it was fairly even. So I’ll go back to my point above…I’ll go with the PK. Calgary’s job with a man down was very strong, and even though Nashville had their chances, I felt Calgary got stronger as the game went along. In fact, the PK has been Calgary’s strongest suit since their opening loss to Edmonton. Since that time, the Flames have killed off 15 consecutive penalties, including all 5 on this night.
Hey, it’s his 32nd career shutout with the Flames, and 35th in his career…this one’s easy, it’s Miikka. #34 stopped all 34 shots fired on him, including the aforementioned save on Martin Erat. Talking on the postgame tonight, it’s true: no matter how much we appreciate what Kiprusoff does for this team, we won’t really understand it until he’s gone. Another great night, and a great start to the season.
Sum It Up
Give Calgary credit. They outwaited the Nashville Predators, who played a very solid game themselves. They had plenty of posession, and it never seemed they got discouraged, they just kept doing the little things. And eventually they were rewarded. They didn’t take a step back after their win over Edmonton, so now it’s time to keep it going. Calgary’s up against Detroit on Thursday night.