Predators Lose Ground In Western Conference Race, Edged By Flames 3-2

By Amanda DiPaolo

It was a must-win attitude in Calgary when the Flames hosted the Nashville Predators on Sunday night. The Flames, just 2 points ahead of Nashville, were also just 2 points out of 9th spot in the Western Conference standings.

The Predators started the night in 10th spot, but would end in 11th behind Minnesota, also losers on the night falling to Buffalo in overtime.

 (AP)

Marty Erat opened scoring early in the first period for the Nashville Predators. Just 2:47 into the game, Jonathan Blum’s shot from the point got through traffic on net. Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff made the initial stop but Erat, on the ground in front of the net, swatted at the puck and banged it into the net for the 1-0 lead. David Legwand picked up the other assist. It was Erat’s 11th goal of the season.

Calgary tied the game at 7:15 of the first period with a power play goal when Mark Giordano took a shot that bounced off David Moss and then off of Weber’s stick and went over Rinne’s shoulder into the net. The fluke goal was Giordano’s sixth of the season and first in 12 games. Ollie Jokinen picked up the assist.

Blum was in the box for tripping Curtis Glencross at the time of the goal.

The Predators would get a go-ahead-goal with just 4:02 left in the opening frame. Erat had the puck behind the net and passed to Ryan Suter who skated into the play from the point. The shot beat Kiprusoff high, glove side. Legwand picked up his second assist of the night on Suter’s goal.

The Predators almost made it 3-1 when they had three scoring chances on a power play with just 3:23 left in the first period. With Glencross in the box for hooking Colin Wilson, Cody Franson hit the post and missed an empty net on the same shift. Erat also had the puck all alone in the slot but tried to pass the puck to either Legwand or Ward who were both in a position for a tap-in into the empty net. Both skaters missed the puck, probably thinking Erat was going to take the shot.

Early in the second period the Flames tied the game. Jarome Iginla had a breakaway just 59 seconds into the middle frame. Sergei Kostitsyn hooked Iginla and he was awarded the penalty shot.

Iginla beat Rinne five-hole for his 30th goal of the season. Iginla becomes only the 10th player in NHL history to score 30 goals in 10 consecutive seasons.

There was a moment of concern for Predators fans less than 7 minutes into the second period when Legwand collided with Jokinen but accidentally tripped Erat, who then slowly skated off the ice in pain. However, Erat promptly returned to the ice.

Nashville was outplayed in the second period and ended up being outshot 13-4. The Predators had to come out strong in the third period, but it was the Flames who started the third period strong, and Nashville ended up being outshot 36-23.

Rene Bourque was robbed by Rinne just under 3 minutes into the third period when he broke in all alone on the Predators netminder and shot high, glove side.

The Flames broke the tie taking a 3-2 lead when Glencross shot the rebound from a Jokinen blast to beat Rinne. Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester picked up assists on Glencross’ 22nd goal of the season.

Pekka Rinne is still looking for his first ever career win over the Flames. His record moves to 0-4-2 against Calgary.

Nashville wraps up its road trip on Tuesday night in San Jose to take on the Pacific Division leading Sharks at HP Pavilion. Once back in town, the Predators play 9 of their next 10 games at home.

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Tags: Calgary Flames David Legwand Jarome Iginla Martin Erat Miikka Kiprusoff Nashville Predators NHL Pekka Rinne

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