Despite getting two points each from Martin Erat and David Legwand, and yet another strong effort by Pekka Rinne, the Nashville Predators came up short in Calgary tonight, dropping a 3-2 decision that leaves them on the outside, looking in at the Western Conference playoff picture. After a competitive first period, the Flames took over in the second & third, with Rinne's goaltending the main reason this one didn't get out of hand.
Follow after the jump for your video highlights and reaction...
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Let's start with the video (might take a few minutes to become available), and Predators vs Flames boxscore:
- Great gosh a-mighty, Martin Erat went to the front of the net and got rewarded again, this time off the point shot from Jonathon Blum to open the scoring. It's always neat to see Erat do well against Calgary, their broadcasters are familiar with him from his time in junior hockey with the Red Deer Rebels.
- Doh, later in that period he caught a fortunate bounce and had the puck on his stick in the most dangerous scoring area of the ice (right between the circles, just a few feet from the crease), and he opted to pass. Same old Marty.
- I like Jarome Iginla, he's long been one of my favorite NHL players. But boy did he ever flop to draw that call for his penalty shot early in the 2nd period. Sergei Kostitsyn gave him a tiny little tug on the glove and Iggy's feet went right out from under him. Iginla's goal on that power play gave him 30 goals for the 10th straight season, a huge achievement.
- As noted by Willy Daunic on Twitter, Erat is on a hot streak lately. Can it last? I'm skeptical, personally. He'll look great for a month, then disappear for the next one.
- Yes, Nick Spaling and Jerred Smithson were put out there for the final 40 seconds of a power play midway through the 2nd period. I can understand getting them out there immediately after a PP for matchup purposes, but a full shift?
- That second period was a real test, as the Preds were overrun on the shot clock 13-4. That's going to happen at times, and they were fortunate to head into the third tied 2-2.
- Well, the third didn't exactly go much better, did it? Nashville spent most of the time back on their heels scrambling in the defensive zone, and will there was a completely mythical, BS holding call on Jerred Smithson, the Flames dictated the pace of the game over the final 40 minutes. The dreaded "score effect" played a big role the Preds getting a few shots late in the 3rd period, but this was a very disappointing effort in a critical matchup.
- One prevailing theme? Calgary blocked 21 shots tonight, while Nashville stopped just 7. I have to wonder (and will ask when I get the chance) whether this is part of the team's strategy, to have defenders stay on their feet. The Preds have the 3rd-fewest blocked shots in the league.
I can't run the numbers for you tonight, so I'll just refer you over to TimeOnIce.com.