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Coming off a successful road trip, the banged-up Nashville Predators look to increase their lead in the Central Division when they take on the surging Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Despite playing without some of its top offensive players at times, Nashville (44-18-6) went 3-0-2 on a season high-tying five-game road trip.

With Peter Forsberg and second-leading scorer Steve Sullivan out, the Predators lost in a shootout for the second straight game Tuesday, 4-3 at Detroit. They are still one point up on the Red Wings for the division and Western Conference lead.

Among the best home teams in the NHL at 25-5-4, Nashville should have an advantage by playing nine of its final 14 games at home, including two against Detroit.

Five of Nashville's last seven contests have gone to shootouts. The Predators are 4-0-3 in those games.

"We've had a lot of close games like this lately," said goalie Tomas Vokoun, who has won his last seven starts against Calgary and has a 2.03 goals-against average in 17 games against the Flames. "It's been kind of like the playoffs - a lot of closer scores as the season goes on."

Nashville has won seven straight over Calgary, including two meetings this season, but the Flames are tied for sixth in the Western Conference and will be looking to match a season high with their sixth straight win. They'll also be trying for a third consecutive victory on the road after losing seven in a row.

Even though Nashville was without Forsberg (upper body injury) for the second straight game and Sullivan (back) for a sixth game in a row, Nashville managed to earn a point for the eighth consecutive contest.

"It was a good point," Predators forward J.P. Dumont said. "We've been short-handed the whole road trip, but guys have showed a lot of character. I'm real happy with our team right now."

Predators coach Barry Trotz does not know the expected return date for Forsberg, who has one goal and five assists in seven games since being traded to Nashville from Philadelphia. He had 11 goals and 29 assists in 40 games with the Flyers this season.

Sullivan, one of five Predators with 22 goals, is day-to-day with back spasms. Scott Hartnell, who also has 22, broke his foot late last month and could miss up to six weeks.

Jason Arnott, back after missing two games with the flu, scored his 22nd goal Tuesday for his first point in four games. The veteran center has four goals in his last three games against Calgary, including three this season.

Calgary (36-21-9) moved within two points of Northwest Division leader Vancouver with a 4-2 win at St. Louis on Tuesday. The Flames are one of the NHL's worst road teams at 9-15-8, but swept a two-game trip and are 2-0-1 in their last three away from home.

"It's really important at this time of the year that you find a way to get points on the road," Calgary coach Jim Playfair said. "We did the job we had to do."

Craig Conroy had two goals and an assist and Jarome Iginla added three assists as the Flames scored four unanswered goals after the first period Tuesday.

Iginla, who leads the team with 31 goals and 76 points, has three goals and six assists in his last five games. He scored twice in Calgary's 3-2 loss to Nashville on Oct. 28.

Iginla missed the Predators' 5-3 win over the Flames on Jan. 15 with a sprained left MCL that forced him to sit 11 games.

The Flames didn't allow a power-play goal Tuesday. Opponents are 0-for-14 with the man advantage in Calgary's last three road games.

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