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The Game Rush: Flames vs. Predators

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- After a hard fought victory in Vancouver, the Calgary Flames returned home to square off against the Nashville Predators in hopes of keeping their postseason push alive.

A 3-1 victory over their visitors secured them 11th place in the tightly packed Western Conference, just four points out of a playoff position.

Winger Curtis Glencross opened the scoring at 10:14 of the first stanza when his shot from the hashmarks bounced off a defender, over Pekka Rinne and into the back of the net. Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman assisted on Glencross' 12th goal of the season.

The second period saw the Predators press back with a David Legwand goal but the Flames answered back with a Jarome Iginla power play marker. After a shot from the point, Stajan corralled the puck in the slot and dished it off to Iginla, who was waiting at the side of the wide open net. He tapped it in for his 21st of the season at 13:01. The additional helper went to Alex Tanguay.

At 14:18 of the third period, Brendan Morrison gave Calgary a two-goal cushion with another power play tally. Mark Giordano carried the puck in deep from the blueline, opting to pass it off to Tanguay in slot. The winger saw Morrison hovering at the side of the net and made a beautiful pass to the veteran. Morrison put the puck in the top of the net as soon as he received pass, scoring his eighth of the year.

The Flames have been had a few goals scored against them this season thanks in large part to bad bounces. On Monday night, the bounce went in their favour.

Hagman was able to gain possession of the puck after a faceoff in the Predators zone and batted it into the corner. From there, he sent it towards the front of the net where Stajan had positioned himself. The pivot took a whack at the pass, putting it right on Rinne, and when the rebound bounced back to him, he opted to throw it over to Glencross. The winger was at the side of the net and lobbed a shot at Rinne. A defender slid down to block the shot but the puck bounced off of him, into the air, over the netminder and into the net.

With the Flames generating two more goals, Glencross' lucky bounce gave them a cushion to work with in the third period as Nashville pressed hard for an equalizer.

Shea Weber's blasts from the blueline have been known to literally blow through netting and when he has a clear shooting lane on the power play, opposing goaltenders need to be hyper aware.

Midway through the final frame, Cory Sarich was handed a tripping penalty and the pressing Predators had a great opportunity to tie it up. When the puck was sent back to Weber, who had a ton of time and space thanks to crowd screening Miikka Kiprusoff, he didn't think twice about unleashing a bomb from the point.

The Flames goaltender pushed his way out of his crease to aggressively take on the shot, snagging it with his glove to make the clutch save.

Stajan has been in an offensive drought this season but his play as of late has been impressive.

The forward was the key factor in two of the Flames three goals on the evening. His ability see his teammates move into opportune scoring positions and get them the puck through crowded lanes made it possible for Glencross and Iginla to beat Rinne.

Overall, Stajan had two assists, one hit and an even rating in 15:48 of ice time.

The Flames have a 15-1-2 record when leading after 2 periods.

Brent Sutter needs 4 more games for 300 games coached.

Olli Jokinen won 64 per cent of his faceoffs against the Predators.

Giordano is 2nd in the NHL amongst shot blockers with 127.

"It's been getting us the odd goal here lately. Power plays are huge - special teams are huge. They're big momentum builders and we've got to continue to work on it and get better. But it's nice to see it's coming around." - Morrison on the Flames scoring two power play markers against the Predators

Friday, Jan. 26 vs. St. Louis
  8:00 PM MT (Sportsnet West, FAN 960)

The Flames will welcome one more visitor before getting some time off for the NHL All-Star break. The St. Louis Blues will make their first trip to the Scotiabank Saddledome this season.

Game time is 8:00 PM MT on Sportsnet West and The FAN 960.
500 Career games for Kiprusoff.
25 Assists on the year for Tanguay. He had two against Nashville.
11 Points (5+6) for Iginla in his last 9 games.
5 Blocked shots for Morrison.
4 Shots on net for Iginla, Giordano and Mikael Backlund. They led Calgary in this category.

1st Star
Alex Tanguay
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 0 0 2
2nd Star
Miikka Kiprusoff
24 23 1 60:00 .958
3rd Star
Matt Stajan
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 0 0

Pekka Rinne
27 24 3 58:38 .888

Miikka Kiprusoff
24 23 1 60:00 .958

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