Nashville Predators top Calgary 5-3, continue incredible run

Thanks to an empty-net goal by Dave Scatchard in the final minute, the Nashville Predators scored 5 goals for the 4th consecutive game as they beat the Flames 5-3 on the road, ending a five-game losing streak against Calgary.

Despite getting outshot 32-20, the Preds held on to a lead gained early in the 3rd period to run their record to 6-0-1 in their last 7, and 19-5-2 in their last 26 games.

Click the picture above for more photos from today's game, and follow after the jump for video highlights, commentary, and advanced even-strength statistics...

Once again, a whole-team offensive effort made the difference for Nashville. Martin Erat and Marcel Goc led the Preds with a goal and two assists each, while Cody Franson had a goal and an assist, and Joel Ward added two assists.

They say it's better to be lucky than good, and Dan Ellis was a bit of both today. In the 3rd period Calgary generated several good chances, but either missed the net or failed to connect on crossing passes. The breaks didn't all go one way, however, as one of Jarome Iginla's two goals would have gone wide of the net, were it not for Dan Hamhuis sliding along the ice and banking the puck in. Ellis finished with 29 saves.

The offensive outburst was especially impressive given the scratch of Jason Arnott today, due to a mysterious "upper body injury". Goc was moved up to center the top line, but both forward units and defense pairs appeared to shuffle often during the game.

The Predators now rank 11th in the NHL in Goals per Game with 2.83. How many of us could have predicted that prior to the season?

Well, I did project this team to score around 235 goals this year; currently they are on pace for 232.

The Preds finish off this road trip Tuesday in Vancouver before returning home for a Saturday, December 26 game against Chicago, with whom they are tied atop the Central Division.

For discounted tickets to any Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

Digging into the even-strength stats, can I sing the praises once again of Cody Franson? This guy continues to put up positive results within a limited role, getting barely half the even-strength ice time of the Top Four.

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Marcel Goc C 16:06 2 0 0 0 7 11 -4 11 13 -2
 Martin Erat R 16:19 3 0 1 1 7 13 -6 14 18 -4
 Steve Sullivan L 14:17 0 2 0 0 5 13 -8 10 17 -7
 David Legwand C 16:25 2 0 1 1 5 12 -7 11 18 -7
 Jerred Smithson R 14:51 0 0 0 0 3 8 -5 5 12 -7
 Joel Ward R 15:50 1 0 0 1 4 9 -5 6 15 -9
 Patric Hornqvist R 12:13 0 0 0 0 4 3 1 9 10 -1
 Dave Scatchard C 8:43 2 0 1 0 2 3 -1 6 7 -1
 J P Dumont R 13:13 2 0 0 1 4 2 2 7 8 -1
 Wade Belak R 4:37 0 0 0 0 1 2 -1 2 2 0
 Nick Spaling C 12:35 0 0 1 0 3 2 1 6 8 -2
 Ryan Jones L 7:01 0 0 0 0 1 4 -3 4 8 -4
 Shea Weber D 18:15 2 1 1 3 7 15 -8 12 22 -10
 Ryan Suter D 20:25 0 0 1 2 7 17 -10 12 24 -12
 Dan Hamhuis D 13:24 1 1 0 0 5 5 0 9 8 1
 Kevin Klein D 20:57 0 0 0 1 4 9 -5 7 19 -12
 Cody Franson D 10:55 1 3 1 0 5 3 2 12 4 8
 Francis Bouillon D 18:44 0 0 1 0 4 7 -3 10 15 -5
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