Nashville Predators vs. Calgary Flames: Matchup Keys, Players to Watch, Game Notes

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 16: Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates against Michael Stone #26 of the Calgary Flames during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on January 16, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 16: Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates against Michael Stone #26 of the Calgary Flames during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on January 16, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

It’s the first of three meetings in 2023-24 between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Two teams looking to avoid falling too far in the hole in their respective divisions.

The Predators have enjoyed a lot of recent success over the Flames, including sweeping the season series in 2022-23 and getting the thrilling shootout win to eliminate the Flames from playoff contention.

No need to take too much stock in the last win over the Flames, because the Predators roster is vastly different from that April 10th win with Thomas Novak getting the shootout winning goal.

3-7-1. 112. 9 PM ET. 5-6-0. 151. Tuesday, November 7. NSH +106, CGY -128 (FanDuel). Bally Sports South, ESPN+

Matchup Keys for Nashville Predators vs. Calgary Flames

This is a clash between two teams who on the surface looking at their win-loss records you would think they’re mediocre teams. Both have had a hard time delivering on their scoring chances.

The Predators are third in the NHL in Expected Goals % but are in the bottom 10 in Goals For Above Expected, finishing in the negative. The Flames are in the negative as well and right with the Predators in that regard of bad offensive fortune.

This game could have the makings of being a defensive stalemate. A classic rough and tumble game where two or three goals is enough to secure the victory. However, the Flames have looked awful on the defensive end as well, and shockingly Jacob Markstrom has looked very ordinary and carries a 1-6-1 record and a .897 save percentage.

Markstrom is better than what he’s shown in his first eight starts and is due for a really solid showing, while Juuse Saros figures to slot back into the starter’s crease after getting the day off on Saturday in the win over the Edmonton Oilers.

It wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if this turn’s into a goalie’s duel between Markstrom and Saros. Neither goaltender has been confirmed as the starters yet according to DailyFaceoff, but we can bet with confidence Saros will start for the Predators.

On special teams I give the Predators a strong edge on the power play. It’s really starting to gel and is just outside the Top-10 in the NHL, while the Flames power play sits at 20th in the NHL and only have connected seven times on the power play. No Flames player has more than one power play goal.

It’s made itself pretty clear for the winning formula for the Predators this season; excel on the power play and you’re going to win a lot of games and be right in the mix for returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Preds Have Found a Bonafide Weapon in Tommy Novak. dark. Next

Players to Watch for Preds vs. Flames

The Flames will be without one of their star players in Andrew Mangiapane who is suspended for one game after cross-checking Jared McCann in what was a dangerous shot to the head.

Mangiapane leads the offensively starved Flames with four goals, and his absence will put more pressure on other top veterans such as Jonathan Huberdeau and Elias Lindholm to step up.

The Predators have actually been really impressive in their defensive structure even against offensively loaded teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. A ton of credit is owed to the entire defensive corps, but with a focal point on Dante Fabbro, Jeremy Lauzon and Alexandre Carrier.

Lost in the fast offensive style of the Predators is the fact that the depth of the defense has been solid. Carrier is third in the NHL in blocked shots with 38, over halfway to his 67 blocks in 43 games last season.

Furthermore, I have to give a ton of credit to Lauzon for stepping up to really solidify the Predators defensive corps. Especially after losing Luke Schenn after one game. Lauzon is among the NHL leaders for not giving up much in terms of High Danger Shot Attempts.

Then there’s Fabbro, who has taken his defensive level of play to the next tier playing alongside Roman Josi on the top pairing.

I’m watching how this entire Predators defensive corps step up tonight against a Flames team that’s struggling badly to produce offense and is missing one of their top offensive players.

Trending. Andrew Brunette Passing Early Test for New Look Preds. light

Other Game Notes for Preds vs. Flames

Luke Evangelista is right in the thick of a crowded rookie race. He’s tied with six other players for second among rookies in points with seven. That includes Connor Bedard.

Saros has enjoyed a lot of success over the Flames in his NHL career, going 8-1-1 for a .929 save percentage and 2.42 GAA. He only has more wins against three other NHL teams (10 wins vs. Sharks and Blackhawks, 12 wins vs. the Stars).

Filip Forsberg has 23 career games against the Flames and has scored 12 goals and two game-winners. His trusty linemate Ryan O’Reilly has 41 games against the Flames and has 25 points.

The next two in the season series will come back to Nashville, with the next meeting coming in two weeks and the final meeting coming on January 4.

Puck drop is scheduled for 9 P.M. EDT. The Predators are trying to build a lengthy win streak, which they’ve yet to accomplish through the first 11 games. On the other hand, the Flames just snapped a six-game losing streak on Saturday by defeating the Seattle Kraken 6-3.