By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators current three-game winning streak was stopped in Calgary when the Flames scored two power play goals and killed off five Nashville power play opportunities to win 3-1.
The Flames have now collected points in eight of their last nine games and are winners of three straight.
The Predators went with Pekka Rinne in net. Rinne is 8-2-0 in his last 10 starts and is 17-12-4 on the season. Miikka Kiprusoff moved to 19-18-2 on the season.
Calgary had a fast start to the game, creating scoring chances and drawing a penalty just 2:33 into the game. Ryan Suter was sent to the box when he slashed Brendan Morrison who had rushed to the net on the left side of Rinne.
Nashville had to kill off its second penalty before the midway mark of the first period when Matt Halischuk was called for hooking Matt Stajan 7:49 into the first period.
Calgary opened the scoring 25 seconds after the power play ended. At 10:14 into the period, Shea Weber blocked a Curtis Glencross shot that went up and over the shoulder of Rinne and into the net. It was Glencross’ 12th goal of the season. Just before scoring, Glencross had a partial break on the same shift, but his shot was foiled by Suter.
The Predators drew a couple penalties before the end the period, but did not register one shot on the man advantage. The first penalty was called less than a minute after the goal by Glencross. Mark Giordano was called for hooking Nick Spaling at 11:57 into the first period. The second Flames penalty was also called on Giordano, with just under three minutes to play, for slashing Jerred Smithson. Not only did the Predators not get any shots on goal, but they had a hard time setting up in the Flames zone at all.
The penalties kept coming in the second period.
Alex Tanguay drew a penalty when he broke through the Nashville defenders. David Legwand took Tanguay down before he could get a shot on goal. Nothing came of the power play for Calgary.
Nashville sustained some pressure in the Calgary zone after a failed 2-on-1 attempt in the other end of the rink. Joel Ward sent the puck from the corner to Colin Wilson in front of the net. Wilson’s backhanded shot beat Kiprusoff, but the puck didn’t cross the goal line until Legwand tapped the puck in. It was Legwand’s seventh goal of the season. at 10:32 of the middle frame.
On the shift after the goal, Nashville again sustained pressure in the Calgary end of the rink and drew a penalty. Cory Sarich was called for cross checking. But the power play woes continued as Nashville was unable to generate any offense on the man advantage.
In three power play opportunities the Predators registered zero shots on goal.
With six seconds left on the power play, Ward was called for a high stick. Jarome Iginla scored his 21st goal of the season. Tanguay shot the puck on goal, the rebound was picked up by Stajan. Stajan’s shot deflected off a player in front of the net over to Iginla who tapped the puck into the empty net on Rinne’s glove side giving Calgary the 2-1 lead with seven minutes left to play in the middle frame.
Just over a minute after the Iginla goal, Nashville headed straight back to the box for too many men on the ice. The minor was served by Patric Hornqvist.
The period ended with yet another penalty called, this time on Calgary when Jay Bouwmeester was sent to the penalty box for hooking Chris Mueller with only 1:16 left. With 40 seconds to play in the period, Nashville registered their first shot on their fourth power play opportunity.
The third period started with Nashville having 44 seconds left on the Bouwmeester penalty, but they were unable to find the equalizer.
Eight minutes into the final frame, Marty Erat broke through the Calgary defenders and had a clean break on Kiprusoff. Sarich tripped Erat but a penalty shot was not called. Sarich sat two minutes out for tripping.
Nashville went to the power play for the fifth time of the night, with only one shot to show for the previous four attempts. Though unsuccessful, and registering only one shot on goal, Nashville did sustain pressure in the Calgary zone for the first time on the man advantage.
With only 6:30 left in the third period, Smithson was called for hooking, making the Predators chances of a come-from-behind victory slim to none as Morrison scored his 8th goal of the season at 14:18 into the third period.
Two of the Flames three goals were on the power play.
Nashville was unable to tie the game and lost their second game on the current six-game road trip. Nashville had won their previous three wins on the road coming against Colorado, Phoenix and Edmonton.
Nashville has one game left before the All-Star weekend. The Predators visit Vancouver on Wednesday night.
Besides the usual suspects of those injured Predators, including Steve Sullivan, Cal O’Reilly, Matthew Lombardi, Marek Svatos, Francis Bouillon, there was a new players added to the list. JP Dumont didn’t play against Calgary on Monday. Dumont took a slash to the neck in the third period of Sunday night’s game against Edmonton.
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