Poor work on special teams & another mid-game lull led to a rare Nashville Predators regulation defeat in Bridgestone Arena.
The Nashville Predators lost their first meeting with the Calgary Flames in Nashville. They won the second meeting in Calgary. The third & final regular season meeting took place Thursday night in Nashville, with the Predators hoping to get the first home win in the series.
Some nice back & forth hockey to start, with both teams marching down & getting chances. Pekka Rinne & David Rittich doing some work early. The Flames are definitely landing some hits. Viktor Arvidsson limps off the ice & to the locker room after taking a puck under the shinpad. Ryan Johansen gets slashed at 11:34 by Dougie Hamilton & the Predators go on the power play. The Flames kill the PP, but soon after it’s Johansen getting a rebound off a Ryan Ellis slap shot to make it 1-0! Ellis & Craig Smith collect assists.
The Nashville Predators get first blood at the 13:45 mark. A little pushing & shoving takes place between Miikka Salomaki & Mikael Backlund. No surprise there. Colton Sissons gets called for tripping Michael Frolik at the 18:58 & sends Calgary on the PP. It doesn’t take long for the Flames, as Matthew Tkachuk backhands one in at 19:16. Sean Monahan‘s hip & Mark Giordano get assists.
Not a great way for the Predators to end the period. Hopefully Arvidsson will be back in the next period. With Kyle Turris already out due to illness, missing two of the top six forwards wouldn’t be ideal.
Of course Arvidsson is out to start the period. Would we expect anything else? Monahan high-sticks Ellis & heads to the box thirty-one seconds into the period. It’s a double minor & a four minute power play for the Predators. The Nashville Predators are zero for their last fourteen power plays.
Make it zero for their last fifteen, as Nashville didn’t have any real chances over a four minute span. The Flames get some better chances after the PP when their first line makes their way down to the net. Rinne does some work to keep the puck out. Some pushing & shoving between Backlund & P.K. Subban, Tkachuk gets involved, and Subban & Backlund go to their respective penalty boxes. Four on four time at 7:58. Some back & forth, then a breakaway by Arvidsson! Arvidsson fires it off the post, and Yannick Weber puts the rebound in! 2-1 Nashville at 9:30 in the second period.
A delayed penalty on Weber leads to Alexei Emelin smashing Curtis Lazar into the boards at the 12:43 mark. The Flames get a 5 on 3 power play out of it. The Predators hold it off & finally get to change more than a minute into it. Hamilton gets a slap shot in just past the crossbar 1:47 into the 5 on 3. Monahan & Johnny Gaudreau get assists.
Nashville misses some good opportunities late in the period. Delayed penalty time! The Predators bring on an extra attacker in the final minute of the period. No goal there, but Matt Stajan goes to the box at 19:28 for hooking Pontus Aberg. The Predators will get 1:32 to break their power play schnide in the third period.
The Predators aren’t exactly on their A game tonight, but Kara Hammer’s doing some good work. Of course Lyndsay Rowley is still the undisputed Queen of Fox Sports Tennessee, but Hammer’s had a solid rookie campaign. Lots of upside there.
Can the Nashville Predators’ power play unit finally be glorious? Apparently not, as the streak moves to zero for sixteen. The Flames make some moves once the power play is over, but Rinne shuts them down. A three on two breakaway leads to a 3-2 score in favor of Calgary. Mark Jankowski taps in the Thachuk pass. Sam Bennett also gets an assist.
The Flames dominate the next couple of minutes, but the Predators finally get some action in front of the Calgary net. Rittick shuts it down, then Lazar slaps one in from near the blue line to make it 4-2.
Don’t worry folks, it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor & it’s not over in this game yet. Pontus Aberg creates a turnover & Nick Bonino gets a goal at the 12:19 mark!
The Predators keep pushing in the final minutes. Rinne stays in the net, but Calgary commits a penalty with 2:13 left. Hamilton delivers the forearm to Craig Smith & goes to the box. You had to know this would come down to a Nashville power play. Rinne leaves the net & it’s 6 on 4. It’s not looking good early as the Flames nearly take it the other way. The Predators get a couple of shots off. Subban fires it into Rittick’s body. The Flames call a time out & the tension builds more in Smashville. Rittick with another save down low. One last push…Rittick splits his legs, Arvidsson tumbles on top of him.
We have some replay drama, as the puck may have gone past the line while inside Rittick’s glove. I can’t see anything, but I have astigmatism so who knows for sure. The fans don’t like the call, but there was no conclusive evidence. The final seconds pass without a Predators goal, and the Calgary Flames win in regulation.
The Nashville Predators were bound to lose one of these games where they had to come from behind.
Steve’s Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Sean Monahan
Monahan had a busy night for the Flames. He was credited for two assists, had six shots on goal & took part in most of the faceoffs. He didn’t find the back of the net, but he put his teammates in good position to get some points.
Second Star: Ryan Johansen
Nashville’s top center put the Predators on the board first & collected an assist later in the game. As usual, his faceoff game was on point, winning 60% of his meetings in the circle. After a bit of a struggle to start the season, Johansen seems to be finding his game at the right time.
First Star: Matthew Tkachuk
The second-generation NHL player has been on quite the streak lately. He got two goals on Sunday to lead Calgary over the New York Islanders. Tonight he got a goal & assist & was a key part of Calgary’s successful power play.
The Nashville Predators’ homestand continues on Saturday night with a visit from a former division rival. The Pred Wings will be out in full force at Bridgestone Arena when the Detroit Red Wings come to town. Fox Sports Tennessee & 102.5 The Game will have the television & radio coverage, with puck drop a little after 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT.