Nashville Predators: Three Factors in Decisive 4-1 Win Over Calgary Flames

Nov 3, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Nashville Predators goaltender Kevin Lankinen (32) and left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrate win over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Nashville Predators goaltender Kevin Lankinen (32) and left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrate win over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators came into Thursday’s game against the Calgary Flames with their season starting to get out of control, and they needed a win just to stop the bleeding as much as anything else.

Fortunately, the Predators can breathe a sigh of relief for now, as they decisively won the game by a final score of 4-1 on the road.

The Flames have had trouble of their own, but it did not matter who the opponent was, the Predators were much better in this one than they were on Tuesday night. There really was not an area of the game that they were bad in, and it was everything you wanted to see for a team coming off of an embarrassing loss in Edmonton.

Once the Predators got ahead, there was no looking back, and it was as complete of a performance as you could ask for. As always, let’s look at the three biggest factors in just their fourth win of the 2021-22 campaign and their first true road win.

Nashville Predators could not be scored on

For the defense being a supposed strength of the Predators, you would not know it through their first few games. Between flat-out breakdowns and making bad plays under pressure, the defense has been a liability thus far, but they finally decided to get it together in this game.

It is crazy to think that on Thursday night, the Predators were everything that they have not been to open the season. They were aggressive on the puck carrier, they positioned themselves well to neutralize the opposition, and they got the puck out of the zone before things could go south.

I cannot bring this up without mentioning Kevin Lankinen, who had a tremendous night between the pipes. He stopped 29 out of 30 shots, and came up with some pretty big saves, especially down the stretch when the Flames started pushing.

It was Lankinen’s second win for the Nashville Predators, and his 27th overall of his NHL career. His save percentage through three starts is a sizzling .933%.

The Predators made it a priority to find a capable backup goaltender to take some pressure off of Juuse Saros, and we can at least say they hit on that. Between rock solid goaltending and sturdy defense, it would have been hard to lose any other game with how they were last night.

Nashville Predators were noticeably more determined

You can say a lot about these players and their lack of production and even effort at times, but one thing you cannot say is that they do not care. They knew what they were up against on Thursday, and they played as if they absolutely needed it.

The Predators were going hard after pucks all night, both in the offensive and defensive zone. They were just scrappy all around, and it was just another game where we wonder why they do not play like that more often, because that is their strength in John Hynes’ system.

Speaking of Hynes, everyone knows that he is at or near the hot seat with the way the Predators have started the season. The players, at least against the Flames, played like they were doing everything they could to save his job.

Say what you will about Hynes and his on-ice problems, but he has done great things for the Predators’ locker room and the team is closer because of it. They do not want him being fired, and they showed that in this contest.

Next. Preds Send Kiefer Sherwood to Waivers. dark

Nashville Predators did not let up towards the end

Stop me if you have heard this before; the Nashville Predators have a tendency to sit back on bigger leads when they have them, especially in the third period.

It looked like that had a chance to repeat itself in this game, as they let up a goal less than two minutes into the third when they entered up 3-0.

Thankfully, the Predators did not let that rattle them at all, as they still continued to play disciplined, tight defense and did not allow the Flames very many good looks. Yes they definitely pushed as the game went on, as any team would do behind several goals late, but the Predators were un-phased.

They kept their foot on the gas the whole time, and even though they did not do much from an offensive standpoint, they still spent plenty of time in the opposing zone and convincingly did their job. That is a huge improvement from the previous games in which the Predators led by multiple goals late, so kudos to them.

The Predators built themselves a comfortable lead with three goals over a span of three minutes of gametime spanning from the end of the first period to the early goings of the second period. Goals came from Mark Jankowski (making his team debut), Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi.

Overall, the win over the Flames was only one game, but there are not many games they will lose if they can replicate that performance. Let’s see what happens in these next few outings with road tilts against Vancouver and Seattle up next.