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Inside The Game: Flames vs. Predators

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames


CALGARY, AB -- The Nashville Predators made sure that the Calgary Flames left Music City signing the blues.

Goals exactly a minute apart in the second period staked the Predators to a two-goal lead they wouldn't relinquish en route to downing the Flames at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night.

The loss extends Calgary's losing streak away from Scotiabank Saddledome to eight straight while the Predators snapped a four-game losing streak in the process.

Knotted at 2-2, Mike Fisher scored his eighth of the season to break a tie after taking a backdoor pass from Roman Josi at 13:24. Nick Spaling added his sixth of the year one minute later after Victor Bartley's point shot redirected off his skate and behind Miikka Kiprusoff for the 4-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Mikael Backlund thought he had cut that lead to one midway through the third period but had the goal called back due to Alex Tanguay impeding the movement of Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne in the crease.

Minutes later, Brandon Yip converted a Kevin Klein pass on a 2-on-1 to extend the lead to 5-2 at 15:54.

Jarome Iginla, with his eighth of the season, added a late goal on the power play with Kiprusoff pulled for an additional attacker to draw to within two before the final buzzer.

It was another special teams unit that opened the scoring for the Flames in the first period.

After poking the puck away from Josi, Lee Stempniak broke into the Predators zone. Unable to gain a step on the Predators defenseman, he dropped the puck for Mark Giordano, who wired the puck through Rinne for the team's second shorthanded goal of the season. The special teams goal gave Calgary its first lead on the road in 258 minutes and 27 seconds.

Though that lead was short-lived, the Flames didn't have to wait long for their third shorthanded goal of the season.

After Martin Erat redirected Josi's point shot to snap his 21-game goalless drought on the power play, Blake Comeau capped off Calgary's second shorthanded effort in eight minutes. Comeau stepped over the line and dropped the puck to Giordano before taking the return feed through the slot and beat Rinne to restore the lead at 13:05.

Nashville managed to draw even before the period let out.

With just 1:51 remaining in the frame, Erat picked off an errant pass behind the Flames' net and fed Fisher in the slot. Fisher cocked and fired a shot by the glove of Kiprusoff to tie the game 2-2.


With one shorthanded goal already to their credit, Comeau added another after taking a return feed from Giordano through the slot and finishing off the play he started by beating Rinne between the legs to give Calgary a 2-1 lead at 13:05 of the first period.


Kiprusoff's best stop came on just Nashville's second shot of the game. After stopping Taylor Beck's initial shot, the rebound ricocheted up off the glass and into the glove of Gabriel Bourque, who promptly found Beck again alone in the slot. Kipruosff got out in time to challenge the shooter, trapping the puck under his arm to keep the game scoreless just 1:07 in.


Returning to the lineup after a three-game absence, Cory Sarich crunched Beck just inside the Flames' blueline midway through the third period.


Goals 60 seconds apart from Fisher and Spaling in the second period gave the Predators a two-goal cushion to play with in holding the Flames over the final 25 minutes of the game.


"They came with a lot of energy ... we need to tighten up defensively ... it was not a good effort."

-Mark Giordano


Pressing to draw closer to the Predators, the Flames played the final 2:42 minutes of the game with Kiprusoff on the bench. During that time, Iginla scored a power play goal.


Defensemen Derek Smith and Anton Babchuk and forward Roman Cervenka were scratched for the game. Paul Byron remains on the injured reserve with a broken wrist.


The Flames conclude their three-game road trip on Friday when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets (5 p.m. MT, SNET-W). Calgary returns to Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday when they host the St. Louis Blues (6 p.m. MT, SNET-W).

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