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5 THINGS - FLAMES @ PREDATORS

The Flames look to get back into the win column in Nashville

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (6-6-2) at PREDATORS (8-3-1)

6:00 p.m. MT | TV: Sportsnet | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

 

Video: The details for tonight's Flames and Predators tilt.

 

2018-19 Season Series: 2-1-0

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Johnny Gaudreau (11)

Goals - Elias Lindholm (8)

Predators:

Points - Roman Josi (13)

Goals - Nick Bonino (6)
 

Special Teams:

Flames:

PP - 17.8% (21st) / PK - 86.8% (4th)

Predators:

PP - 19.6% (18th) / PK - 73.7% (27th)

Advanced Stats:

Flames:    

Shot Attempts: 50.93% (11th)
High-Danger Chances: 49.72% (19th)

Predators:

Shot Attempts: 51.39% (9th)
High-Danger Chances: 50.12% (17th)

 
1. US

The Flames are looking to get back in the win column on Thursday night after dropping their last two games by a 2-1 score.

On Saturday, they picked up a point but fell 2-1 in overtime to the Winnipeg Jets in the 2019 Heritage Classic in Regina and on Tuesday, they fell 2-1 to Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Elias Lindholm scored both goals with Johnny Gaudreau picking up a pair of assists in the two losses.

Netminder David Rittich was in net for both setbacks, making 69 saves on the 73 shots he faced in those games. He has a 5-4-2 record with a 2.86 GAA and a .910 save percentage this season.

In both loses, Lindholm opened the scoring but both the Jets and Hurricanes were able to find the back of the net in the third period. With that in mind, the Flames are focused on maintaining a strong defensive game through all three periods and finding more consistency in their game.

"We've got to do a better job at protecting leads in the third - not protecting but building off it and getting that insurance marker and going from there," Matthew Tkachuk said after Tuesday's game. "We've been (in that) position too much this year.

"The best teams know how to play with the lead, know how to extend the lead. We saw that last week playing against Washington. They took it to us in the third when they were winning. It seems like when they got an even bigger lead, they took it to us more.

"The best teams, they have the foot down on the pedal even when they're up ... we've got to find ways to get to the net more and create more chances."

After Thursday's game at Bridgestone Arena, the Flames will head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Saturday and then will close out the lengthy road trip in Washington on Sunday. The team is back at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 5 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. Limited tickets are available HERE.

 

Video: Loubardias on the remainder of the road trip

 

2. THEM

The Predators head into Thursday's match-up on a four-game winning streak in which they have outscored their opponents 16-3. Thanks to their run, they have moved into second in the Central Division with an 8-3-1 record and 17 points.

In their last outing, the Predators outshot the Chicago Blackhawks 51-20 and received three goals from Nick Bonino, who now leads the club with six goals on the year. It was their second consecutive shutout on home ice.

"It was strong from start to finish," Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette told the club's website. "There weren't many shifts where I don't think we competed at a really high level, really tried to force the issue and press the pace and play a fast game. Offensively, we made good decisions and defensively I thought we competed really hard."

Defenceman Roman Josi leads his team in scoring with 13 points on the year and has seven points in his last five games. On Tuesday, the Predators signed their captain to an eight-year contract extension with an AAV of $9.059 million.

"This is a really special day for me, my wife, my family and it's definitely a dream come true," Josi told NashvillePredators.com on Tuesday. "I've been with this organization for my whole career, and Nashville has become a home for me. I met my wife here, I got married here, my family loves it here, I've met so many new people in Nashville and I love everything about this city."

 

3. US VS. THEM

Thursday's game is the first of three in this year's season series. The final two tilts will take place in February, with the Predators coming into Calgary on Feb. 6 and the Flames making another visit to Nashville on Feb. 27.

In 2018-19, the Flames went 2-1-0 against the Predators, outscoring Nashville by an 11-7 margin. Gaudreau led all skaters with six points in the season series with Lindholm (3 goals, 5 points) and Sean Monahan (3 goals, 4 points) trailing him. Craig Smith led the Predators with a pair of goals through three skates.

The Flames hold a 36-32-4-2 all-time record vs. the Predators.

 

4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: Rittich has been stellar for his club this season and sits third in the NHL in both saves made and shots faced. He's stopped 314 of the 345 shots he's faced, posting a .910 save percentage through 11 games. THAT: The Flames own one of the best penalty-killing records in the NHL, operating at a 86.8% rate this year. On the road, they have killed off 82.3% of their infractions. In total, they have been short-handed 53 times and on the road, they have been short-handed 34 times this year. THE OTHER: LIndholm is currently riding a four-game point streak that started back on Oct. 22 against the Capitals. In that time, Lindholm has potted three goals and four points. The Boden, Sweden native leads the Flames with eight goals in 14 games this season and sits second in team scoring with 10 points. Lindholm had a career year in 2018-19, scoring 27 goals and recording 51 assists for 78 points in 81 games.

 

5. PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - LW Johnny Gaudreau

The winger heads into Thursday's skate on a two-game points run, assisting on Lindholm's goals vs. the Jets and Hurricanes. He and his linemates - Lindholm and Tkachuk - have generated plenty of scoring opportunities in their last two games and will look to build off those outings in Nashville. Gaudreau also led the Flames in scoring against the Predators last year, averaging two-points-per-game with six points through three skates.

Predators - C Nick Bonino

The Predators' leading scorer picked up a natural hat-trick on Tuesday night, lifting his team to a 3-0 win over the Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. The 31-year-old forward now has 10 points on the year, placing him fourth in team scoring. Bonino has five points in his last four games.

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