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Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Calgary Flames 11/7/23

Apr 10, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the overtime period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

After a resounding regulation win in Edmonton, the Nashville Predators stay in Alberta to take on the struggling Flames.

It’s been a rough season for the Calgary Flames. They also won Saturday, a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Kraken, but their season up to that point has been marked with more losses than wins. Their penalty kill has been up to the task, but by every other metric of accomplishment they’ve struggled: their skaters aren’t scoring (in general or on the power play); their goalies aren’t saving; and their fans appear to be at their wits’ end.

Elias Lindholm leads the team in points, with eight, and assists, with six. Andrew Mangiapane–who was suspended for one game today and will not play tonight–leads the team in goals, with four. Jacob Markström has the better save percentage of the Flame’s goalies, and still hasn’t cracked .900, while backup Daniel Vladař has struggled in his three starts.

The odd thing is that the Flames look significantly better than their record. There’ve been a slew of opinion pieces about how awful their season has been, but on paper they look fine. They’re controlling play and chances okay–not exceptionally, but by no means badly–and just seeing almost no rewards for it, at either end of the ice. Mikael Backlund and Nazem Kadri have both had particularly abysmal shooting luck for the looks they’ve gotten, and Matt Coronato probably deserves better as well.

Markström, astonishingly, has performed above expectations, which implies some unflattering things about the shots he’s faced. Still, ultimately, the Flames’ problem has been that they can’t outscore their problems, whether they’re playing well or poorly. If this continues to hold true tonight, and the Seattle game was just a blip, the Preds have the opportunity to end the road trip on a high note, but they should beware thinking it’ll be an easy win.

The game airs at 8PM Central on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.

Statistics background referenced from naturalstattrick.com and hockeyviz.com.

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