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Preview: Flames vs. Predators

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

PREDATORS (34-21-12) at FLAMES (27-34-5)

TV: SN1, FS-TN, NHL.TV (7:30 PM MT)

Season series: The Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames have split two games this season; the road team has won each game 2-1. Defenceman TJ Brodie has a goal and an assist, and left wing Johnny Gaudreau has two assists for Calgary. Defenceman Shea Weber scored the game-winning goal on the power play for Nashville on Jan. 27.

Predators team scope: Nashville extended its franchise-record point streak to 13 games (9-0-4) with a 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Center Mike Ribeiro and forwards Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith have had success playing together during that span. Ribeiro has a five-game point streak (one goal, seven assists), Forsberg has 22 points (14 goals and eight assists) in his past 15 games and Smith, who scored two goals against Winnipeg, has a five-game point streak (five goals, eight assists). "I think the past month and a-half, two months, everybody has settled into where they're going to be, and that only creates chemistry," Smith said. "That only helps in games where you need goals, can rely on each other and be predictable." The Predators are eight points ahead of the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference; they are five points behind the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division.

Flames team scope: Calgary is 2-9-2 in its past 13 games, including a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Center Mikael Backlund, who has already tied his career-high with 21 assists this season, has been a bright spot. "I really believe that [Backlund] is playing some great hockey right now … really good hockey," coach Bob Hartley told the team website. "He's been fairly consistent all year, but right now, I told him the game in Pittsburgh, I really believe that was probably the best game I've seen him play as a Calgary Flame. He was dominant." Defenceman Jakub Nakladal is questionable because of an eye injury he sustained after taking a high stick against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday; he practiced Monday but did not play against San Jose. Goalie Joni Ortio, who made 21 saves Monday, is expected to play.

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