Flames hand Preds third straight loss…

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You know how the Nashville Predators seem to always have the Columbus Blue Jackets’ number? Yeah well, the Calgary Flames seem to have Nashville’s.

In front of 14,360 at Bridgestone Arena, the Flames edged the Preds once again, this time in the shootout to win by the final score of 3-2.Nashville got goals by Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist and (mostly) stellar goaltending in Pekka Rinne’s 26 saves but it wasn’t enough as Calgary, once again, found a way to get the victory.

Back in October, the Flames were able to secure a victory in overtime here in Music City and then, just last week in Alberta, Calgary got two unanswered goals in the second half of the contest to tack on another two points at the expense of the Preds. In their three games this season, the Flames have come away with all six possible points while Nashville has (and we’re taking the optimistic route here) at least gotten two.

Opening the scoring was the Predators. Finding themselves on a two-on-one, Sergei Kostitsyn hit Erat with a perfect feed that all he had to do was keep his stick on the ice. He did and the puck slid past Miikka Kiprusoff to give Nashville the early 1-0 lead.

After a scoreless middle frame, the Flames drew even on a slapshot by Matt Stajan. He came down the wing, used his attacking forwards as a decoy and slipped one past Rinne. For as good as Rinne had looked up until that point, he looked terrible on the one shot in particular. Unfortunately, the Predators only had one goal on the board themselves so Stajan’s softie was enough to tie the game.

Just moments later, however, the Predators re-took the lead. On the man advantage, Hornqvist took a deflected pass from Shea Weber and wristed one past Kiprusoff to take the 2-1 lead.

Then, returning volley was Calgary. Catching Colin Wilson napping was Flames blueliner Corey Sarich as he pinched in and one-timed a shot past Rinne to tie the game at two.

After trading chances in overtime, the two Western Conference foes went to a shootout.  After both Martin Erat, Cody Franson and David Legwand missed, the Flames were able to get the victory thanks to Rene Bourque’s first round shootout goal.

Nashville’s next home game is a huge one as Central Division leader Detroit comes to town on Saturday. As of now, just five points separates the Red Wings from the Predators.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* The Preds spent four of the opening six minutes on the penalty kill. Calgary only managed two shots on goal during those power plays.
* The last Nashville home win over Calgary was on January 15, 2008.
* Ryan Suter finished with a game-high six shots on goal.
* With his two points on Tuesday, Kostitsyn has a new career high in scoring with 28 points. His previous career high was 27 in 52 games during his rookie season with Montreal in 2007-08.
* The Predators are now 19-3-4 this season when scoring the first goal.
* Erat’s tally was the 130th goal of his NHL career. (thanks to AP writer Teresa Walker for that stat)

THE THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT:
1) Alex Tanguay (CGY)
2) Sergei Kostitsyn (NSH)
3) Miikka Kiprusoff (CGY)

ADVANCED STATISTICS
[table id=4/]

Statistics by Patten Fuqua, sourced with data from TimeOnIce.com.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // section303.com