The Nashville Predators avenged their only loss of the season by extinguishing the Calgary Flames. But, it was not all good news.
It was a long night Friday. The Nashville Predators took their game to Canada for their first of back-to-back games in the later time zone. Calgary was their first destination as the Predators face the only team to beat them this season.
Both teams are off to great starts. Nashville is leading the Central Division with a record of 5-1-0. The youth of Calgary has pushed them to a 4-2-0 start, second in the Pacific Division. The game was certain to be filled with action, and it did not disappoint. When the game was done, the teams combined for 55 scoring chances with 27 coming from high-danger areas.
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The last game ended in the Flames shutting out the Predators. It didn’t take long to break through last night.
Only 51 seconds passed before the Predators broke their scoring drought against the Flames. Ryan Ellis dumped the puck into the offensive zone. Filip Forsberg found the puck, served it up to Ryan Johansen who didn’t miss the net. Of course, the pesky Flames team didn’t back down. Johnny Gaudreau gathered a puck from behind the net and Elias Lindholm gladly put in by Pekka Rinne. After 20 minutes, the game was tied at 1.
The pace of the action was extraordinary all night. Each and every player on the ice moved with purpose, hoping to make enough of a play to gained the puck. Even players like
. During the second period, the Predator’s second line made the presence know.
continued to work and make plays, but it was
that finally broke through. After not earning a point in the first six games, Fiala gained a helped on Smith’s third goal of the season.
It took 30 minutes of action before the first penalty was called on either team. Viktor Arvidsson drew a slashing call, giving the Flames a power play. They took advantage quickly and the Predators penalty kill still looks average. The Flame James Neal, who was being agitated by Salomaki all game, was called for a double minor, giving the Predators 4 minutes of the man advantage. They worked the puck around the ice well at first. A sweet pass from Ryan Ellis found Fiala in the slot and he scores his first goal of the season. After two periods, the Predators led 3-2.
The final 20 minutes was a battle. Just over two minutes into play,
put a nifty move on Rinne. The puck found the net, and Rinne found the knee of Fiala on his helmet. Rinne attempted to stay in the game but was eventually replaced by
. While the collective breath of Smashville was being held, Saros did not disappoint. He saved every shot faced including two on a penalty kill.
Zac Rinaldo gained his first goal on the season, rewarded for his play and intensity. Yannick Weber bounced a breakaway pass off the boards and Rinaldo used his speed to gain the odd-man advantage. Passing to Ryan Hartman was an option, but Rinaldo didn’t need the help. The puck went in the net for the game-winning goal.
Forsberg added an empty-netter and the final score was 5-3, Predators win.
Up next for Nashville is a quick trip to Edmonton on Saturday night. The Oilers are 3-2-0 on the young season, with only one game at home so far. Game time is set for 9:00 P.M. Central.