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2015-16 Top Games Countdown: No. 8

by Thomas Willis / Nashville Predators

January 27: Predators vs. Flames

Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile points to his team’s four-game sweep of Western Canada prior to the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend as a saving moment of the season. The Preds started January with a 2-5-1 mark, leading to a trade for No. 1 center Ryan Johansen, and the concerted effort to climb back into a playoff spot.

Wins over Winnipeg and Edmonton started the Predators momentum on their final road trip before hosting the All-Star Game, and a 2-1 triumph over Vancouver the night before put Carter Hutton and Nashville in position to claim their first four-game winning streak of the season.

A quick strike from Mike Ribeiro put the visitors up early and Shea Weber’s goal in the middle frame proved to be the game winner. Twenty-six stops from Hutton sealed the win and sent the Predators into the All-Star break on a high note, one that would be picked up quickly on Feb. 12 in Tampa Bay when the club’s franchise-record 15 consecutive games with a point or more began.

"We battled hard. It's been a tough month for us," Weber said. "We're battling our way back into the playoff picture here. The last four games have really helped.

"We talked about finishing off a tough West swing. It's not easy to come out here to beat these teams in their own buildings. Trying to keep our mind on the games, too, is a big thing with the All-Star break. Minds might tend to wander, but I think everybody in here did a good job of staying focused. The games speak for themselves.”

Check back next weekend for Game No. 7 in our countdown!

Golden Goal:

Foreshadowing his victory in the Hardest Shot Competition later that week, Preds Captain Shea Weber blasted a one-timer past Karri Ramo for the eventual game winner. Recently acquired forward Ryan Johansen began the play by dishing behind his back to Roman Josi, before Weber’s d-partner touched the puck over for the scoring-slapper.

"[It was] a great play by Johansen getting it behind the back to [Josi], and [Josi] just set it right where I needed to hit it," Weber said via NHL.com. "I made a good shot."

Gif of the Game:

Carter Hutton extends the left pad as far as he’s able to deny the Flames’ bid at the equalizer in the final minute of regulation.

Quotables:

"We knew they were going to come at us," Hutton said. "They're too good not to. I thought we did a great job. At the end, we had a couple key blocks and we eliminated second chances. From there, we were able to hang on. It wasn't the prettiest finish, but it was back-to-back and the end of a road trip. It was a huge two points any way we look at it."

Frozen Focus:

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