The first shutout of the season for Miikka Kiprusoff. The first NHL goal for Derek Smith. The first win this season over Nashville. It was a night of first times for the Calgary Flames tonight, as they stuck to a conservative plan to take a 1-0 win over the Predators. It’s just the second time this season the Flames have won consecutive games, and they did it by playing a typical Calgary-Nashville game. Not a lot of action, but the proper result.
A fairly low event first period kind of set the tone for the rest of the game, with both teams generating four chances in the opening frame. Calgary scored the only goal of the period and it came late. With the team entering the offensive zone, T.J. Brodie did a nice job looking off a defender before firing a pass from the right point to the left side of the crease, finding Derek Smith for his first ever NHL goal. It’s the second consecutive night a Flames player has scored their first ever NHL goal, as Brodie’s first served as the winner Sunday in Minnesota.
The second period also saw four chances a piece, and was basically a carbon copy of the opening 20 minutes, with neither team wanting to stray too much from what was happening defensively. Through the first two periods, we saw a lot of outside chances and a game that could have seen either team leading; or a game that could have very easily been tied.
I liked Calgary’s third period though, as they took advantage of a Preds team that was maybe running low; Barry Trotz’s team seemed to really struggle trying to get their chase game going. As a result, the Flames took advantage, generating a couple ten bell chances on Pekka Rinne who had to be pretty strong as per usual. In the end, Smith’s first stood up as the winner.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they didn’t allow Nashville much of anything. Kiprusoff’s first shutout of the season is likely one of the easier ones of his career, which is good news. Calgary did a strong job keeping their opponent to the outside and clearing second opportunities; they never allowed more than four chances in a single period. Kiprusoff was strong when called upon and was deserving of the goose egg.
Hmm. We’ll give it to Smith because it was his first NHL marker, but an honorable mention to Kiprusoff for the shutout. With Mark Giordano going down in the first period with a scary looking injury, and Chris Butler missing a little time with a leaking face, Smith had to take on a hefty amount of ice time comparable to his prior work this season. Smith finished with 22:33 of ice time and did a nice job with it, playing most of his time with Brodie.
Sum It Up
We all know stringing wins together is what the Flames need to do, and they’ve put two together and now it’s time to get to three for the first time this season. Their efforts against the Wild and Predators have been decent, if not spectacular, and are a fairly good example of how the team can play. If this is what they do against Columbus on Thursday night, they’ll probably pick up a third straight. The Giordano injury is scary, as that would take an important piece away from the team, and this one did not look pretty.