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Mully's Musings: vs. Calgary

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
It was the first NHL game of 2012, and Calgary is probably happy this was the last time it will see Nashville this regular season.

The Nashville Predators scored four unanswered goals in the first and second periods and hung on in the third to claim a 5-3 victory against the Flames in front of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena on New Year’s Day. The Preds ended their regular-season series against the Flames with a 3-1-0 record. It was also the sixth consecutive sellout for the Preds, who won their third consecutive game.

It had been a low-scoring series between the two teams until Sunday. A total of six goals were scored in the first three games of the series, but the two teams combined to score six before the midway point of the third period. Calgary opened the scoring at 3:47 of the first when Captain Jarome Iginla recorded the 499th goal of his career. But the Preds ran off four consecutive goals to take control. Let’s muse…

Throw your hats in the air: The Nashville coaching staff has been asking Sergei Kostitsyn to shoot more often. And while he had only three shots on Sunday, he made each one count. Kostitsyn recorded his first career hat trick and had tallies in all three periods. His final goal came when Calgary pulled goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in the final minute. Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein threw a long shot on net, and just before it went it, Kostitsyn got his stick on it to get credit for the goal. It was Kostitsyn’s first multi-goal game of the season, and he had scored only one goal in his previous 10 games. If this sparks Kostitsyn, watch out. Remember, he led Nashville in goals (23) and tied for the team lead in points (50) last regular season.

Getting it done: The Preds played their fourth consecutive game without Captain Shea Weber (concussion), who has been put on Injured Reserve. Nashville is managing to fill the void with various players and is 3-1-0 since Weber’s injury. Klein was removed from IR after missing six games with the flu, and he was one of the best players on the ice Sunday. He had a goal and an assist, and added a game-high four blocked shots. His return will certainly help the Preds during Weber’s absence. In other injury news, Colin Wilson (upper body) missed his second game in a row.

Home sweet home: The Preds opened the season struggling at home. They went winless in their first three games at Bridgestone Arena and struggled to put together a home winning streak. Much has changed since then. Nashville is 7-1-0 in their last eight home games and seems to be riding an emotional wave, which has been helped by Nashville’s six consecutive sellouts. The Preds get a mini-break before their next game, which will be on Thursday at Bridgestone Arena against Dallas.

F Patric Hornqvist on Kostitsyn: “I think he’s been shooting the puck more than usual. Everyone knows he has a good shot. He creates a lot of space for me and Fish, too. He was a big part of the win tonight.”

D Ryan Suter on Weber’s absence: “When you lose a top player, everyone has to step up. That’s what’s going on.”

Barry Trotz: “You look at the first three games of the series, it was 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1. I was expecting 2-2 with overtime or a shootout. I thought we came out really well tonight. I was a little bit concerned because the new year has brought some strange games in the past. We talked about making sure they were really focused for this game.”

F Sergei Kostitsyn, Nashville: 3 goals
F Jordin Tootoo, Nashville: 2 assists, +2 rating, team-high 4 shots
F Patric Hornqvist, Nashville: 2 assists

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