The Preds and Flames have ironically had a few barn-burners over the years. Particuarly back when Nashville boasted a few more weapons up front. This contest, however, was not one of those games.
Calgary mostly controlled the play in the first period, spending large periods of time in the Predators end. Unfortunately, the Flames struggled to convert zone time to quality chances – something which would become a theme this afternoon. Despite their territorial dominance, the teams went to the dressing room tied at zero.
The second period was bit closer with the Predators pushing back before scoring the first goal of the game (the last one they would need). After a Cory Sarich pinch in the offensive zone, Nashville’s third line broke in on a three-on-two. A Jack Hillen shot would pinball off of David Moss’ stick and then carom Niclas Bergfors and into the net.
After that bit of good fortune, the Preds did their best to clog the neutral zone and lull the capacity crowd at the ‘Dome to sleep. the Flames struggled to really break through the trap generate a high volume of chances, although a Tim jackman tally was called off in the second due to goaltender interference on the play by Tom Kostopolous.
Calgary was chasing in the third, but Rinne only had to make or two notable saves the rest of the way. The home team’s last quality chance of the game came at the 11:00 mark of the third stanza before a Nashville two-on-one goal by Andrei Kostitsyn was salt things away for the visitors.
One Good Reason…
…Why the Flames lost? Not enough punch up front. Calgary had a lot of shots but not enough in the way of chances to go with their zone time. The Predators managed to take away time and space in the defensive zone and the Flames didn’t have the juice to fight through the shot blocking and such consistenly. When the rare break-down occured, Rinne was there to bail his club out.
I like ehat I saw from the newly minted fourth unit of Horak, Jackman and Kostopolous (although their chances numbers are meh), but I’m going to giving the RW to Lee Stempniak today. He was instrumental in generating a number of chances and was one of the few Flames who seemed able to carry the puck into the scoring area in the offensive zone. He nearly tied the game on a goalmouth scramble, but was robbed by a Rinne pad save.
Sum it up
The Preds scored the first goal thanks to a lucky bounce and Calgary wasn’t able to do enough with their superior possession numbers to beat Rinne. The Flames are still spending a lot of time on the periphery of the offensive zone when they have the puck, with passes frequently being bobbled and pucks jumping over sticks in the scoring area. In addition, the PP continues look disjointed and ineffectual, a weakness that really hurts on a night like this when things are gummed up by a defensive oriented team at ES.