Predators 2, Flames 1: Shoot 'em up!

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 13: Lee Stempniak #22 of the Calgary Flames runs into Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff #34 as Colin Wilson #33 of the Nashville Predators watches the puck at the Bridgestone Arena on December 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

As expected, the goaltenders dominated tonight's game, with Pekka Rinne stopping 35 shots to guide the Nashville Predators to a 2-1 win tonight. Perhaps even more impressive, however, was Miikka Kiprusoff in the Calgary net, who had to deal with a season-high 45 shots from the Preds. Colin Wilson scored the game-winner for Nashville, which puts the team on a nice three-game winning streak as they prepare to face the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night.

Video highlights and reaction after the jump...

First the video (may have to wait until 30-45 minutes post-game before it works):

As always, your random observations:

  • Outside of an extra puck or two going in, you really couldn't complain about that 1st period, as Nashville dominated the shot totals 18-6. It's funny actually that they scored on a wild backhanded swipe at a puck in the air, rather than any of several outstanding scoring chances they created more conventionally.
  • That said, I'll give full marks to McGrattan for stopping that puck along the boards and working hard to get it on net for Halischuk to bat in.
  • That said, all that effort went to waste thanks to that rush by Glencross to tie the game at one. You hate to see a guy carry the puck so easily through center ice, all the way to the goal without being physically challenged. The burden is on the forwards there to at least pressure the guy and not let him hit the defense with speed.
  • That power play goal by Wilson to put Nashville up 2-1 was a thing of beauty, and came from the dynamic trio of Legwand, Wilson & Smith who I discussed the other day. Interestingly, however, the Preds weren't using the style of power play that Barry Trotz was working on in practice Monday; the forwards set up in a triangle between the slot, the corner, and the half-boards rather than spreading out laterally across the zone.
  • I'm really not a big fan of saddling Wilson with Spaling and Tootoo as linemates on a 3rd line, but right now one player is always left out of those top two lines, leaving the third as a bit of a mishmash. That trio were pretty heavily outshot at even strength, as you can see in the Corsi link below.
  • The unusual aspect of those 45 shots isn't that so many pucks were being fired, but that so few were blocked or missed the net. Typically, about half of attempted shots actually require the goalie to make a save, but tonight it was more like two-thirds (45 of 63 attempts).
  • After being teased in practice, we didn't see SK74 work the point on the power play. Granted, the Preds didn't get a whole lot of time there, but Bouillon manned the second unit instead.

NHL Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers

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