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Calgary Flames @ Nashville Predators Preview: Time to Make a Stand

Frederick Breedon

The Stats

Calgary Flames Nashville Predators
Record 11-12-4 26th 11-13-6 23rd
GF/Game 2.89 11th 2.27 28th
GA/Game 3.26 28th 2.53 9th
5-on-5 SF/60 27.7 20th 23.6 30th
5-on-5 SA/60 28.4 16th 25.8 5th
Fenwick Close 50.88 13th 46.51 23rd
5-on-5 Save % .891 29th .919 11th
5-on-4 GF/60 7.0 10th 6.4 13th
# of PP's/Gm 3.59 17th 3.13 26th
4-on-5 GA/60 8.5 29th 7.7 26th
# of PK's/Gm 3.07 2nd 3.27 8th

Perhaps a cure for Nashville's struggles can be found in an opponent with serious goaltending & penalty killing issues.

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Calgary Flames

The Flames are, once again, lingering on the perimeter of playoff competition (don't laugh, they've got better chances than Nashville at the moment), leaving many to wonder if this is the year that they finally sell off assets and launch into a full rebuild. Over at Flames Nation, Kent Wilson cautions against going too far down that road:

The common error at this juncture for some rebuilding teams, I think, is to throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak. On top of moving Iginla and Kipper, a scorched earth advocate would probably sell off Giordano, Stempniak, Glencross and Hudler, pick-up some draft picks and kids and watch the lottery tickets roll in. Getting the next "face of the franchise" or superstar often becomes a fixation for bad teams who are actively rebuilding, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. The Edmonton Oilers over the last 5 years are more or less an object lesson on how not to rebuild correctly - for example, they spent more than one summer engaging in fruitless whale hunts for the likes of Marian Hossa, Dany Heatley, Nikolai Khabibulin and Thomas Vanek, but have failed to retain, acquire or develop a meaningful collection of support players behind all of their showy draft picks. Which is why they still kind of suck despite boasting the likes of Eberle, Hall, Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins.

--- Flames Nation

The official kickoff of any rebuild will come whenever the Flames figure out their long-terms plans vis-a-vis their captain, Jarome Iginla. As a pending unrestricted free agent who can still produce offensively, Iginla would seem to be the plum of the Trade Deadline market, if Calgary's management is enticed by whatever the legitimate Cup contenders offer up.

Jarome Iginla

#12 / Right Wing / Calgary Flames



Jul 01, 1977

2012 - Jarome Iginla 27 7 13 20 -3 20 1 0 1 90 7.8

Who knows, maybe the Preds will luck out and GM Jay Feaster will trade Iginla away before the game...

Make sure to head over to our SB Nation comrades at Matchsticks & Gasoline for more on the Flames.

Nashville Predators

After stumbling through a 1-4 road trip, the Predators have no choice but to make a strong stand on home ice if they still harbor any hopes of making the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons. As that chance continues to diminish, the focus begins to shift from team success to all the individual angles which will play out over the coming weeks. Which players might find themselves traded to a playoff contender within the next two weeks? Which will either carve out a larger role for themselves on the 2013-14 edition of the Predators, or set themselves up for success on this summer's free agent market?

The first move on that front is expected today, as Zach Boychuk was put on waivers yesterday. If he goes unclaimed, the Preds can send him down to Milwaukee. Presumably, Sergei Kostitsyn will get back in the lineup, and we can only wonder what the reaction will be at Bridgestone Arena after his nefarious blunder Sunday evening at Edmonton.

At long last it also sounds like the situation on the injury front might slowly improve, as Hal Gill could potentially play tonight:

Preds coach Barry Trotz said Gill has been skating on his own and said it's "possible" that Gill could play as early as tomorrow against Calgary. Trotz said he will make that decision tomorrow morning.

Forward Patric Hornqvist (upper body) is skating but does not yet have a return date, while forwards Colin Wilson (shoulder) and Paul Gaustad (upper body) have not yet resumed skating.

--- John Glennon, The Tennessean

Gill's presence could help shore up a penalty killing unit which has been a real weakness of late, giving up 13 power play goals in 36 shorthanded situations over the last 12 games, killing them off at a deplorable 63.8%. Among the different reasons for the Predators' disappointing performance this season, the lack of success on the penalty kill has been perhaps the most surprising.

Can the Predators quench the Flames and establish something to build on during this final stretch of 18 games, 12 of which take place at Bridgestone Arena? Make sure to come back later for the Game Thread, and stay tuned during the day for updates!