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The Week Ah-Pred: Jan. 13

by Jimi Russell / Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators played four games in six nights last week and the NHL schedule doesn’t slow down prior to the upcoming 18-day Olympic break, which begins Feb. 9.

On Tuesday night, the Predators started their five-game homestand with a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. David Legwand and Roman Josi both scored for the Preds, but the highlight of the night was Mattias Ekholm, who picked up his first NHL goal in the second period.

Nashville hosted Anaheim, the top team in Western Conference, on Thursday night. The Preds started things off quickly with goals from Paul Gaustad and Craig Smith in the first 2:22 of play. Nashville held the 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but a four-goal second period from Anaheim saw the Ducks take a 4-3 into the third frame that would eventually stand as the final margin. Rich Clune also scored for Nashville.

The Preds opened back-to-back games on Saturday night as the Ottawa Senators visited Nashville for the first time since Dec. 23, 2010. After a scoreless opening frame, Kyle Turris put the Sens out front 6:23 into the second period. They would hold the lead until Mike Fisher buried a deflected shot at 16:59 to tie things up against his former club. The score would remain knotted at one goal apiece through regulation and the five-minute overtime period before Jason Spezza recorded the game-winner in the shootout.

Twenty-four hours later, the puck dropped on the Preds and Wild’s third tilt of the season. Minnesota used two goals in the first and two goals in the third to post a 4-0 shutout.

Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators – Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. CT

(102.5 The Game)

The Nashville Predators close out their five-game homestand on Tuesday night as the Calgary Flames come to town for the first of two meetings in a 10-day span; the Preds will travel to Cowtown – yes, I said Cowtown – on Jan. 24 to close out the series. Nashville has garnered points in six straight when hosting the Flames, going 4-0-2 since the start of the 2010-11 season to improve its home record against them to 17-9-(1)-2 all-time.

In the their last meeting on April 23, the Preds final home game of 2012-13, the teams traded goals through the first two periods with David Legwand and Nick Spaling both scoring for Nashville. The Preds jumped out to a 4-2 lead by the five-minute mark of the third period, including rookie forward Austin Watson’s first career goal. The Flames would score late to pull within one, but the Preds held on for the 4-3 win.

Nashville Predators at Philadelphia Flyers – Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. CT

(FOX Sports TN and 102.5 The Game)

The Preds travel to Wells Fargo Center for the first time since Feb. 2, 2012 – a 4-1 loss for Nashville. The Preds are 6-7-4 all-time against the Flyers, and are 3-5-(1)-0 in the City of Brotherly Love. Nashville last won in Philadelphia on Nov. 29, 2006.

These two teams met on Nov. 30 in Nashville, with Philadelphia taking home a 3-2 shootout victory. Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson scored for the Preds, and Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier found the back of the net for the Flyers. With the score tied after the final buzzer, the overtime period was needed as the Preds kept the pressure on the Flyers and goaltender Steve Mason, but Mason stood tall to force the shootout. In the post-overtime skills competition, it was Vinny Lecavalier’s opening shootout goal that stood as the difference maker.

Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators – Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. CT

(FOX Sports TN and 102.5 The Game)

The Colorado Avalanche make the first of two appearances on Bridgestone Arena ice on Saturday. Dating back to Oct. 8, 2009, the Predators have won seven straight home games against Colorado, outscoring the Avs 27-15 in that span. All-time, Nashville is 15-9-3 when hosting Denver’s team, including a 12-3-0 mark since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.

These teams met on Nov. 6 in the Mile High City, as Colin Wilson (2g-2a) stole the show in a 6-4 win at Pepsi Center. Viktor Stalberg opened the scoring for Nashville with his first goal in a Preds sweater, and Craig Smith added another in the opening frame. Colorado snuck back into the game on goals from P.A. Parenteau and Ryan O’Reilly, but Paul Gaustand and Wilson once again extended the Nashville lead. Matt Duchene tied the game at four a little more than four-minutes into the final frame, but Wilson pocketed his second goal of the game and Gabriel Bourque sealed the win with an empty-net goal.

Pekka Rinne is on IR with a hip injury.

Chase Balisy (sixth round, 2011) and his Western Michigan Broncos swept No. 13 Miami (Ohio) in their two-game series this past week. Balisy, the Bronco’s captain, registered five points (2g-3a) and a +5 rating in the two games, with both his goals scored in shorthanded situations. The Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., native leads the NCHC in plus/minus rating (+14) and shorthanded points (2g-2a). He is tied for fourth in conference assists and ninth in points (4g-14a-18pts).

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 12: Fans of the Nashville Predators dance during a stoppage in play against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena on January 12, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

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