by Jackson Walsh
The Nashville Predators will end their Western Canadian road trip tonight with their second matchup of the year with the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. This will be the only meeting between the two teams in Calgary this season, as the Flames will come to Nashville for the third meeting between the two clubs on February 15 at Bridgestone Arena.
The Preds look to continue their strong start to the month of December (5-0-1 dating back to a 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim at home on December 2) by ending this crucial Western conference road trip on a three game sweep before returning home on Tuesday to face the strong Winnipeg Jets. Calgary won last time out against Nashville in a comeback victory 3-2 in the shootout at Bridgestone Arena, but the Flames have floundered in mediocrity since, going 11-9-3 since then and currently sitting in 4th in their division with a 16-13-3 record with only 35 points. The Preds, on the other hand, have gone 16-4-2 since they last played the Flames and are in 1st in both the Central division and Western Conference with 44 points.
However, they are a fairly healthy team except for LW Kris Versteeg and then Jaromir Jagr. The second line for the Flames, the Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik line, is really doing well for them, Tkachuk and Backlund combining for 38 points, 13 goals, and 25 assists.
The Predators really need not replicate having the opponent double the shot count against them, whoever is the goaltender, be it Rinne or Saros, won’t have a 46-save shutout every night. It just won’t happen. The Flames are a scoring team, they know how to put it in the back of the net.
On our end, the Fiala-Turris-Smith line is generating some major strength, 4 goals and 6 assists thus far on the road trip. The speed and youth of this line is incredible to watch, it finally makes the scoring the lineup was always capable of come to life.
Predators 4, Flames 3