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Preview: Flames vs. Predators

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators are feeling better about themselves after ending losing streaks.

Pekka Rinne probably feels better about his chances of beating the Flames after finally earning a win in his last start against them.

Rinne is expected to be in goal for Nashville on Tuesday night as he tries for his second shutout at Calgary this season.

Calgary (9-12-1) earned its only victory on a four-game trip Sunday, 5-2 over Minnesota as five different players scored.

"If anything it reaffirms that we can do it," said right wing Lee Stempniak after the Flames matched a season high in goals. "That's one of the best teams in the NHL, and for the most part I think we took the game to them all night. I think it's sort of a stepping stone."

Coach Brent Sutter shuffled his lines, with Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen joining Jarome Iginla, and the change seemed to work.

"We directed more pucks towards the net and our forwards did a good job of battling, getting it on net, winning those second and third battles off the initial shot," Sutter said.

Nashville (11-8-4) ended a four-game slide with Monday's 2-1 victory at Edmonton. Nick Spaling and Shea Weber scored and backup goalie Anders Lindback made 17 saves for his first win of the season.

"The last four games, we hadn't played well," Weber said. "We needed to get back to our style of hockey, and playing a defensive style."

Rinne will likely be back in goal Tuesday. A Vezina Trophy finalist in 2010-11, he entered this season 0-4-2 with a 3.16 goals-against average against the Flames.

Rinne finally broke through against Calgary with 33 saves in a 2-0 victory Oct. 22. Niclas Bergfors and Sergei Kostitsyn scored in that contest for the Predators, who lost all four of last season's meetings with the Flames.

Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 12 shots in last month's defeat, falling to 13-4-1 with a 2.08 GAA over his last 18 starts versus Nashville.

The Predators have scored two or fewer goals in each of their last four games, but that output was enough for them Monday.

"We played with a lot more of the things that you need to have to win," coach Barry Trotz said. "We played with a lot more intensity and structure."

Unheralded rookie Craig Smith assisted on Spaling's game-winner in the third period. Smith, a fourth-round pick in 2009, has a team-high 17 points and is tied with Patric Hornqvist for the Nashville lead with seven goals.

The previous seven matchups between these teams have been fairly low scoring, all featuring five total goals or fewer and all decided by one or two goals.

The Flames are eager to start a seven-game stretch in Canada - including five contests at home - before they visit Nashville on Dec. 13.

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