For a full 60 minutes, the Nashville Predators faced an uphill battle. Poor performances on special teams and by defensemen doomed their chances.
It was not pretty. Sure, there were a few moments filled with hope, but on the night when they hung multiple banners, the Nashville Predators failed to score. Minute after minute, the battle raged on. But each swing on the puck proved futile. And the Calgary Flames bested the Predators 3-0.
There were players that gained chances. Yet again, Craig Smith pushed the action all night, leading the team in high-danger chances. Kevin Fiala also showed well all night. After Viktor Arvidsson took a puck to the face, Fiala played on the top two lines. In more than 14 minutes at 5v5, Fiala gained 6 scoring chances, including two high-danger chances. However, the Predators could not find the back of the net against Mike Smith.
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The Calgary goalie was on point all night. He saved shot after shot and the Flames’ cleared all rebounds away from the net.
How it played out
When looking through the stats, the final score does not seem logical. The Nashville Predators won almost every area. Their FenwickFor was 55%, gained 22 scoring chances compared to 13, and had 5 more high-danger chances during 5v5. They had 43 total shots. But, it was the special teams that really let the Predators down.
The Flames scored their first goal during an early power play opportunity. P.K Subban tripped Austin Czarnik on a breakaway chance. During the ensuing power play, Johnny Gaudreau found an open Elias Lindholm on the clear side of the net. The puck found its way behind Pekka Rinne.
Calgary’s second goal came on another power play. Before the penalty was called, Subban misplayed a puck, which found it’s way into the Flames control. Subban slammed his stick to the ground and the Flames skated around him. Before the puck went into the net, the officials called the Predators for too many men on the ice. The goal didn’t count, but Calgary was on the power play. And they scored there.
The last goal of the evening also happened on Subban’s watch. Early in the third period, the Predators pushed the puck into the Calgary zone. With Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg on the wall, fighting for the puck, Subban pinched toward them and left two Flames in open ice. The puck found them, ricocheted off Mattias Ekholm‘s skate and into the net.
With two giveaways and allowing all three goals, Subban’s night was one of his worst donning the Predators’ jersey.
One has to wonder if the Nashville Predators were looking ahead to the Jets coming to town. Another game like this means another loss to their rival. We will have to wait and see on Thursday.