CALGARY, AB -- The Nashville Predators are enjoying their trip to the West Coast.
They made stops in Winnipeg and Edmonton where they handed the Jets and Oilers matching 4-1 losses. Finally, they reached Vancouver, where they edged the Canucks 2-1. Now, on their way back east, they're making a stop in Calgary, where they will put their winning streak on the line.
Siting on the cusp of a playoff spot, Nashville understands the importance of every game. They will use their strong defence and goaltending in attempt to quell the Calgary Flames’ offence.
Their defensive core certainly plays a large part in the teams’ success as they generate a lot of offence while playing strong defence.
Roman Josi and Shea Weber lead the charge from the back-end. The duo are ranked first and third in team scoring, respectively. In addition, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm are also near the top in team scoring.
As one of the leagues worst in five-on-five scoring, the Predators will have to find a way to create offence in even strength situations if they want to beat the Flames.
Calgary has been short-handed the fewest number of times of any team in the NHL. This will mean that Nashville can not rely on their strong power play unit - which is even stronger on the road.
The Flames have won the last four meetings between the two clubs and haven’t lost to Nashville since March 21st, 2014 at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Heading into the All-Star break, both teams will want to end the first half of the year on a high note, so expect an exciting contest.
BREAKING DOWN THE PREDATORS
Record: 23 - 18 - 8
Power Play: 20.3% overall (32 goals scored in 158 chances with the man advantage), 20.7% on the road (17 goals scored in 82 chances with the man advantage)
Penalty Kill: 78.5% overall (32 goals allowed in 149 times being short-handed), 78.2% on the road (17 goals allowed in 78 times being short-handed)
2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 0 - 1 - 0
2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 0 - 3 - 0
Notable Injuries: F Colin Wilson, F Gabriel Bourque
Who's HOT: Pekka Rinne
The Nashville Predators are 3-0-0 in their last three games and in large part due to their All-Star goaltender. The veteran netminder has a .963 save percentage and a 1.00 GAA in the three wins.
In 2016, the 33-year old Finn has once again been a top goaltender in the NHL. He holds a .906 save percentage and a 2.47 GAA in 41 games this season. Rinne is a workhorse for the Predators, having logged the second most minutes of any goalie in the league with 2,458.
Honourable Mention: Mattias Ekholm
The fifth-year defenceman from Sweden is starting to make an impact offensively. In his past four games, the blue liner has compiled five points, including the game-winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers.
With 21 points in 49 games, Ekholm already has three more points than his 2014-15 total. At his current pace, he will reach 35 points by seasons end, setting a new career-high for goals an points.
Who's NOT: Barret Jackman
A 14-year veteran, Jackman is in his first season with the Predators and has seen his offensive numbers plummet. Over the course of his career, he has averaged 13 points per season and without a big push, he may not even reach half of that number. With one goal and three points, Jackman is on pace to score five points this season.
In addition to not finding the scoresheet, the Trail, BC, native has been a consistent visitor to the penalty box. He has 60 PIMS in 48 games, which places him in the top 20 in the NHL in penalties.