After two days off to give thanks for the points they have already received – two, via the Oilers – the Flames are in the Music City of Nashville, Tennessee tonight to visit the Predators.
The Flames have had three games worth of good third periods, but haven’t really played a full 60 minutes yet this year. That’s bad, as playing a good 20 minutes will only apparently beat Edmonton – and that took Edmonton rolling over in the third. Granted, it’s early, but the Flames really need a full 60, especially if they’re going to bail out their goalies; Hiller and Ramo have been good-to-excellent thus far, but the club has just a single win to show for it. In the midst of a six-game road trip, the team will need a more complete effort to survive.
The puck drops at 6pm, and you can catch the action on Sportsnet 960 The Fan or on Sportsnet 360.
Calgary is now in the meat of their six-game road trip (with three games left after tonight). They beat Edmonton in Dumpsville on Thursday, then were out-played soundly by a better Blues team on Saturday. Now, after two days off, they face Nashville. Nashville won two of the three games against the Flames last season, with Calgary’s lone win coming in that thrilling 5-4 shootout. They also had that excellent 6-5 game in March (when they received a standing ovation from the Saddledome crowd despite losing). The game in Nashville was more one-sided and had Carter Hutton in net.
The Flames used four different goalies in their three games with Nashville, while the Predators used three.
Lines, from our pals at Daily Faceoff (via Derek Wills and the Flames media troops in Nashville):
Hudler – Monahan – Setoguchi
Glencross (A) – Backlund – Byron
Raymond – Colborne – Gaudreau
Bollig – Stajan – Bouma
Giordano (C) – Brodie
Russell (A) – Engelland
Wideman – Smid
David Jones (upper body) remains out, but is not on the IR, but Jiri Hudler is back from the flu, so the lines get shuffled and Brian McGrattan sits. Ramo starts in Nashville, while Jonas Hiller hopes to repeat Reto Berra’s Swiss magic from last season and win when he starts in Chicago on Wednesday.
Nashville is 2-0-0 and have been off since Saturday, like the Flames. They have wins over Ottawa and Dallas under their belts. This is the final game of their season-opening three-game homestand, after which they hit the road later this week. Peter Laviolette is their new coach this season, replacing long-time coach Barry Trotz. So far, it’s going well.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Bourque – Ribeiro – Neal
Forsberg – Roy – Smith
Wilson – Jarnkrok – Jokinen
Beck – Gaustad – Nystrom
Josi – Weber
Volchenkov – Jones
Ekholm – Ellis
Mike Fisher (achilles), Victor Stalberg (lower body) and Matt Cullen (upper body) are all on the IR for the Predators. The good news is that Cullen was the Preds leading scorer against Calgary last year. The worse news is that the Predators are a lot deeper than last year’s version, so I doubt they’ll need Eric Nystrom to score four goals in a game again.
SUM IT UP
The Flames have had a tough time winning in Nashville recently, as they haven’t won in that town since 2011. With how they’ve been playing – and how good a start Laviolette has the Predators off to – it will be tough for them to break that streak.
Unless they bust out their first real 60-minute effort of the season. If they play how they did against St. Louis, they likely will lose once again.