The Predators continue their trip through western Canada with a stop in Calgary tonight. The last time we met the Flames, they got the better of the match up, with a 3-2 shootout victory at Bridgestone Arena. Karri Ramo was great against the Preds. Nashville can most likely expect a similar performance from him tonight, as Calgary is coming off of a 2-1 loss against Montreal on Tuesday.
Nashville, on the other hand, is coming off of a great 4-1 win against Edmonton on Wednesday night. They had one of their best performances of the season, and look to build on it tonight.
The Calgary Flames
As I mentioned before, the Flames got the better of the Preds in their first meeting. Karri Ramo and Mark Giordano had great games to lead them past Nashville. Calgary has been somewhat of a surprise this season. They are a resilient and pesky team that just doesn't go away until the end of the game.
They are led by newly appointed captain Mark Giordano. He has elevated his play this past two seasons, and has pretty much become the leader that this team has been looking for (since Jarome Iginla left). With Gio playing big time minutes, and Karri Ramo playing excellent in between the pipes, the Flames are great on the back end.
Ramo has to be the X-factor for tonights game. He was able to stump the Preds in their first meeting, and looks to do the same tonight. I expect him to have another great game. Nashville will have to get at him fast and early.
The Nashville Predators
The Predators rebounded nicely from their loss against Pittsburgh, and they look to carry that momentum into Calgary. They're no longer flying under anyone's radar, and others are now realizing that this is a new team with a new style.
Craig Smith finally had his breakout game of the season, notching two goals (should have been three) in a 4-1 win. I can't speak for all fans, but this was the game that I was waiting for from him. A game where he just took over and dominated all night long. I expect him to build on it, and continue to find his scoring touch.
Along with Smith, Roman Josi has been coming on strong as of late. He tallied two assists and blocked seven shots in the win over the Oilers on Wednesday. He also had a game high of 25:50 of total ice time. Josi is becoming a work horse for the Preds, and is taking some of the pressure off of Shea Weber on the back end. He is just an all around good defenseman.
Matt Cullen is going to be the X-factor for the Preds. He had a great first game back. My concern was that he wouldn't fit in with the current lineup, considering how well they were playing. I was wrong, and I am happy to admit it.
Reason To Watch
A little bit of a revenge factor. The last game against the Flames left a bitter taste in their mouths. Ramo left the Preds frustrated and out of sorts. I could only guess that they are going to come out fast, and wanting to get after Ramo early.
Wouldn't It Be Funny If
Colin Wilson finally gets his first goal of the season. Let's be honest, we are all waiting for this moment.
Get excited people, we get an hour earlier start tonight! Puck drops at 8:00 pm CST, and will be on FS-TN locally.