Predators @ Flames preview: Out of the frying pan...

ST PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 27: Lee Stempniak #22 of the Calgary Flames celebrates scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the first period on November 27, 2011 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

There's little time for the Nashville Predators to celebrate their victory over the Edmonton Oilers, as they complete their tour of Alberta with a stop in Calgary tonight (8:30 p.m. Central on FS-TN). Make sure to tune in to the pre- and post-game radio shows on 102.5 The Game, as I'm joining Willy Daunic in studio for more late-night hockey.

But for now, follow after the jump for the breakdown!

Need a break from holiday shopping? Take the OTF Discount and get tickets to a Preds game!    

Tale Of The Tape

Nashville (11-8-4) at Calgary (9-12-1)
NSH Offense vs. CGY Defense CGY Offense vs. NSH Defense
5-on-5
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
 NSH Offense 2.3 (18th) 25.5 (27th) 9.0 (7th) 2.3 (9th) 31.8 (29th) 928 (8th)  NSH Defense 
 CGY Defense  2.2 (8th) 28.6 (9th) 922 (13th) 2.3 (18th) 27.7 (21st) 8.3 (13th)  CGY Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
NSH PP vs. CGY PK CGY PP vs. NSH PK
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
 NSH 5-on-4 5.5 (17th) 48.0 (16th)  11.4 (17th)  5.8 (15th) 55.4 (27th) 896 (13th)  NSH 4-on-5
 CGY 4-on-5  6.8 (21st)   57.8 (29th)  882 (14th)  4.6 (22nd)   40.3 (29th)   11.5 (15th)   CGY 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

Calgary hasn't been bad at even-strength, but the special teams units are misfiring badly - this may be the rare case where the Preds hold the advantage if the game becomes riddled with power play opportunities.

Calgary Flames

The question, as it has been for a while now in Calgary, is whether this group of Flames can reasonably contend in the Western Conference, or whether the whole thing should be burned to the ground and rebuilt from scratch. The "trade Iginla" speculation has fired up once again, but the situation, as always, rests with Calgary's captain due to his no-movement clause.

With their 9-12-1 record, and recent stretch of uninspiring play (they've allowed at least 2 goals against in 9 straight games), there's little reason to believe the current roster is going to get it done, and last week's pickup of Blake Comeau on waivers seems like an opportunity to kick the tires on a possible long-term solution rather than the type of move that's going to turn their fortunes around.


Calgary Flames Last 5 Games

@ Minnesota Sun 11/27 W 5 - 2
@ St. Louis Fri 11/25 L 0 - 2
@ Detroit Wed 11/23 L 3 - 5
@ Columbus Mon 11/21 L 1 - 4
Chicago Fri 11/18 W 5 - 2

There is some reason to believe that Flames management is starting to take the long view of things and admit that fundamental work needs to be done here (this, from Matchsticks & Gasoline):

The disaster in the Flames case, for fans and management, is fully understanding that Darryl Sutter significantly damaged the Flames over his final years and with it having the proper expectations going forward.

A article I have linked dozens of times all over the web and am happy to continue to pimp is Kent Wilson's 6-part series on The Rise and Fall of Darryl Sutter which explains how the Flames got to where they are today.

Recent comments by Ken King to the Calgary Herald are an indication that management and ownership may have finally passed Kubler-Ross's final stage of acceptance and are getting honest with fans which is a huge relief. Fans themselves will be in different stages naturally but it is important to know that management is finally there. 

This morning, there has been a lot of discussion about Anaheim's Bobby Ryan supposedly being on the trade block, and whether or not the Preds should make a play for him. In Calgary, Nashville might find a more suitable trade partner - one which may be launching a major reconstruction effort, and would be looking for future assets more than present-day ones. The Predators, meanwhile, would have the opposite end in mind; prospects & picks would appear to be their trading currency, with current NHL talent the need.

And while Jarome Iginla's salary might be too steep to take on, how would a guy like this look in Predator Gold?


Rene Bourque

#17 / Left Wing / Calgary Flames

6-2

213

Dec 10, 1981



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - Rene Bourque 22 6 1 7 -4 10 2 0 1
55 10.9
2010 - Rene Bourque 80 27 23 50 -17 42 6 1 6
218 12.4
2009 - Rene Bourque 73 27 31 58 +7 88 6 4 5
215 12.6

There have been motivational questions about Bourque over the years, so he may not make a great fit for the Preds, but there may be other options available. So keep an eye on the Flames tonight and see if any of their veterans might fill a hole for Nashville.

Nashville Predators

Last night's victory in Edmonton was like a shot of tonic for a team which has gone through some pretty uninspired play over the last week or so. Most of the lineup got involved in creating scoring chances, and the gaffes were few and far between. Dare we hope for a repeat performance tonight?

The main roster change we'll see this evening will involve Blake Geoffrion, who was hurt on a big hit from Ryan Jones and will miss this game. So far, since we haven't seen word of an AHL recall or other transaction, that would seem to indicate that Brian McGrattan will dress instead.

As so often, however, the spotlight will be on goal, where a well-rested Pekka Rinne will look to shake off some recent poor outings:


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

209

Nov 03, 1982



GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Pekka Rinne 21 1192 10 7 4 49 2.47 652 603 .925 3

Peks has a career 1-4-2 record against the Flames, so you can bet he'll be looking to straighten out that record a bit tonight.

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