Nashville Predators: Flames Give Predators Their First Home Loss

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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The Nashville Predators were undefeated on home ice heading into Tuesday night’s game. The Calgary Flames were 3-1 on the road. Something had to give.

After a tough loss in New York City on Saturday afternoon, the Nashville Predators returned home on Tuesday night to try & get back on track. They knew it was going to be tough, as the Calgary Flames are one of the better teams in the Western Conference. Home ice had been kind to the Predators so far, and the early part of this game was as well.

First Period

The first really good chance for either side comes three minutes in off the stick of Ryan Johansen. He gets two good shots but no dice. Hopefully, he can get going sooner rather than later. Pekka Rinne‘s first awkward save comes a little more than four minutes in. The Predators’ first power play comes at the 14:36 mark after Scott Hartnell gets tripped by Mark Jankowski.

Filip Forsberg taps it in after a showcase of passing, the puck going down low & Hartnell flips it in his direction. Roman Josi gets credit for an assist on Forsberg’s seventh goal of the young season.

Preds go back on the power play at 12:41. Nashville strikes again 14 seconds into the powerplay, this time it’s Captain Josi with the ol’ slap shot. Johansen & P.K. Subban were rewarded with assists. I’d give an assist to Hartnell for blocking Mike Smith‘s vision.

Two goals for the Predators in this period equals the number of first period goals they have over the eight previous games. It’s nice to see the Predators get off to a hot start. Flames were pushing to try & stay in it. Rinne was definitely getting his workout in during this half of the period. Some exciting back & forth action with both goalies fighting for their lives. Alexei Emelin was a physical nightmare for Curtis Lazar and some other Flames.

P.K. Subban gets whistled for holding Johnny Gaudreau with 3:02 left. The Predators penalty kill does its job, so P.K. gets let off the hook. Forsberg gets tripped on his way to the net by Lazar with 3 seconds left and the Predators will start the second period back on the power play.

The Flames had some good chances & definitely can’t be counted out. But if they keep committing penalties, the Predators will keep capitalizing.

Second Period

The Flames get a good chance at a shorthanded goal but Rinne clears it out. They do manage to kill the penalty though.  Pontus Aberg interferes at 6:16 into the period & the Predators go on the penalty kill. They kill it, and then we get some chippiness after a shot after the whistle by Calgary! The Predators get another good chance at the halfway point of the period but Smith holds them off.

Nashville thought they scored a goal, but it turned out to be interference. Kevin Fiala goes to the box with 9:03 left after a shot on Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames had a really good chance on the power play as Rinne wasn’t even in front of the net. But it worked out for the Predators somehow. Roman Josi blocking like a stud. I don’t know how they killed that penalty but they did. Then Viktor Arvidsson gets tripped and there’s no call. Rinne stands tall though, as the period starts to wind down.

Frederick Gaudreau gets creamed, which is to be expected in such a physical game. The Predators are pressing and just miss a golden opportunity. Rinne gets the save on two big chances from Johnny Gaudreau & Dougie Hamilton. More chippiness after a second near-miss. Ryan Johansen nearly creates another goal but it fizzles out. Then Mattias Ekholm goes to the box with 1:08 left. He got his money’s worth on that roughing. The Predators manage to hold the Flames off until the horn.

Lots of action, but no goals. When the Preds are up two goals you’ll take that result. I get the feeling that a little dislike is starting to percolate between these teams.

Third Period

Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme plays us into the third period. Predators kill off the penalty and Ekholm gets a nice steal but can’t close the deal. History between Nashville & Calgary tells us that we’re in for a dramatic third period. I wouldn’t mind an uneventful one. Matt Irwin has been having a pretty rough night. It’s a shame there isn’t a young fella with potential that could take that spot. Or multiple ones in Milwaukee, for that matter.

Rinne dives on the goal line to save one, and there’s more chippiness. No wonder, Cody McLeod‘s in there. Official review maintains the verdict. Arvidsson blocks a slapshot, and it’s clear that it stung him. He then makes his way to the locker room. Subban snuffs out a scoring chance for Calgary. Icing by the Predators helps lead to a goal for the Flames. Matt Tkachuk gets Calgary on the board, and this game gets much more interesting. And it gets even more interesting when Johnny Gaudreau dishes to Michael Ferland to tie the game. I blame the Predlines Twitter account.

The game went into the tank because of it. Maybe not. Perhaps it was the lack of Arvidsson. Maybe they avoid those icings if he’s there charging for the puck. He’s back now. Predators really haven’t gotten anything going on offense except while on the power play, and we haven’t seen any of those in awhile. We head to overtime!

Overtime

Watching the Predators in overtime is just not fun. Forsberg skates a couple of laps in the Flames’ zone with the puck, does nothing, takes a change and the Flames get the puck. This actually happened. I have no explanation for it. Subban at least tried to actually do something, which is nice. Forsberg takes a shot, which is saved. Rinne makes a save but an early whistle keeps him from playing it. Rinne then makes a nice save on a Flames 2 on 1. Nashville then creates some good chances but Smith makes the saves. At the end of the 65 minutes, the score is tied and so a shootout is on the way.

Shootout

Kevin Fiala is first up for the Predators. He spends too much time shuffling and has no chance at all. Sean Monahan is up for the Flames and he shoots it right by Rinne. No messing around there. Filip Forsberg is second for Nashville and he slaps it by Smith. Rinne needs a save. Kris Versteeg shoots it right off Rinne! Arvidsson is third and buries the puck right into Smith. Tkachuk is up third for the Flames, and he wins it. Boy, a 19-year-old winning a game for a team. Who would have ever thought such a thing could happen?

Steve’s Stars of the Game

Third Star: Filip Forsberg

Forsberg added another goal to this amazing October he’s been putting together. We all expect this to be part of an amazing season. I have no reason to believe he won’t be among the contenders for major NHL trophies.

Second Star: Roman Josi

One goal & one assist for the captain on this evening. He also led the defense with some key blocks. He’s part of the reason the Predators made it to the shootout.

First Star: Matthew Tkachuk

The sixth pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft is already paying dividends for the Flames. He scored the first goal for Calgary tonight, then got the final goal in the shootout to put the Predators to bed. He’s only 19 years old. I can’t imagine a 19 year old being good enough to start for an NHL team on a regular basis, can you? Absolutely amazing. He’s another Arizona boy, so maybe Gary Bettman is right about this whole Arizona Coyotes thing.

Next Game

The Nashville Predators head to the Windy City on Friday night for another meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks. Not ideal coming off of a shootout loss. The good news? Friday night will be the last time the Predators have to visit Chicago this regular season.  The puck will drop around 7:30 CT/8:30 ET.

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