The beat goes on for the Calgary Flames, and you can put another two points on the board thanks to a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Monday night. Taking on a Preds team sitting fourth in the Western Conference, the Flames opened the scoring and carried the play for the majority of the affair. A couple powerplay goals would be the difference, not in a Flames loss, but instead in a third straight Flames win.
After not being able to cash in on a couple early powerplay opportunities, Calgary would open the scoring midway through the first period on a bit of an odd one. On a bit of a scramble in front of the Nashville net, Curtis Glencross would get the puck at the side of the net and put a shot towards the net. It would go off of Shea Weber in front, bounce up and over Preds goalie Pekka Rinne; Glencross would get credit for number 12 on the season. It was a fairly even first with not a lot happening offensively, but a couple of penalty kills would end up being pretty important for the Flames.
The second period was Calgary’s best, yet it would also be the only period they’d allow a goal. On a dump in around the left boards, Miikka Kiprusoff would try to play the puck but gave it immediately back to Joel Ward, and after Colin Wilson moved the puck towards the crease, David Legwand would poke it home for his seventh of the season. However, a Joel Ward high sticking penalty would put the Flames on their fourth powerplay of the game, and for a third straight night, they’d take advantage. After the puck came from the point and found Matt Stajan at the left side of the crease, he’d slide it across to Jarome Iginla who would make no mistake into an empty net. Iginla’s 21st at 13:01 gave Calgary a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
The third period would see the Predators put on a nice push looking for the equalizer, and as such they’d out chance the Flames 7-3 overall. But after a few solid opportunities, including a chance on the powerplay, the Preds would take a penalty of their own thanks to a Jerred Smithson hooking call. Calgary would cash in again, this time with Brendan Morrison finishing a nice passing play for his eighth of the season, which would seal Calgary’s 3-1 win. The Flames did a nice job of boxing out and limiting the damage with some Nashville zone time, and they put it away when given the chance.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they were better. Calgary carried the play and controlled things for much of the game, and the portion controlled by Nashville was handled well. The Flames didn’t do anything really special, they just played their game and kept things pretty close to the vest. They had limited Nashville to nine scoring chances through two periods, and didn’t give them a whole lot overall. A pretty strong defensive effort mixed in with some very good special teams (2 for 6 on the powerplay, 5 for 5 on the penalty kill) propelled the Flames to another win, and vaulted them out of 14th place.
I really liked Morrison tonight. The top line was a factor at times, and I felt Morrison was strong at both ends of the ice. He can sometimes be prone to some soft plays on the puck, but that wasn’t the case tonight and hasn’t been the case as of late. Morrison broke up a number of Nashville cycles, he more than four minutes on the penalty kill, and while his faceoff work wasn’t great, he did a nice job of frustrating possession for the Predators. Plus he scored the goal that sealed things for the home side.
Sum It Up
Hey, Calgary is starting to move up the standings. They’re out of 14th in the Western Conference, and they’ve done it by buying into "win two of three, get four points out of every six." They’ve been very successful at doing that, and they really are playing their best hockey of the season. Now, the question becomes…how long does this continue?