Nashville Predators @ Calgary Flames Preview: Hot and Spicy
The Preds head to Alberta for a tilt against the Flames.
Mikael Granlund has become a popular topic of conversation in Preds circles. The Finnish forward who never seemed to click under Laviolette’s system is absolutely FLOURISHING under coach John Hynes. After Matt Duchene won a big board battle, Mattias Ekholm fed Granlund for the overtime winner against the Jets on Tuesday. Beautiful.
Juuse Saros played one of his better games of the season (perhaps of his career) against the Jets. Pekka Rinne was on point last Saturday against Vegas. The goaltenders seem to have found some confidence in the blue paint, and their efforts are integral to this team’s success.
Many of us will feel a lot more confident about this team when guys like Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, and Craig Smith start finding the back of the net more regularly. Arvidsson seems to spend more time in the penalty box these days, and Forsberg is usually attacked by 2-3 defenders when he has the puck.
The Flames are also in a weird position in the Pacific. For a division that doesn’t have any “powerhouse” teams, Calgary sits outside the playoff bubble behind the Coyotes (!!!) for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. (Hmm...this is familiar.)
Flames captain Mark Giordano left Tuesday’s game against San Jose with an apparent leg injury. There’s no word on whether Giordano will be available tonight, but current indicators are that it's unlikely. Calgary was defeated by the Sharks.
Matthew Tkachuk leads the Flames in points with 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists). The pesky, irritating Tkachuk is most certainly leading the way on a Calgary team that’s been struggling to find consistency in the lineup. Johnny Gaudreau has 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists) and Elias Lindholm has 40 points (22 goals, 18 assists). Giordano leads Flames defensemen with 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists).
David Rittich has a .909 Sv% over 39 games, and backup Cam Talbot has a .919 Sv% in 19 contests.
Memories and Feelings
This was one of the most heartbreaking regular-season things I’ve seen inside Bridgestone Arena:
Reasons to Watch
- Hockey is better than watching anything about politics.
- I secretly love to watch Elias Lindholm play hockey. He hasn’t lit the world on fire this season, but Lindholm is one of Calgary’s top scorers in a weird season.
- Will the Preds continue their incredible road performance?
Tonight’s Theme Song
The Preds are in a weird position. They’ve won 4 of their last 6 games, but they can’t do anything right on home ice. This Canadian road trip is crucial. Even after defeating Winnipeg, they’re still 2 points out of a wild card spot. They’re in weird shape, so here’s Ed:
How to Watch
Tonight’s puck drop is at 8:00 Central. FS-TN has the broadcast and 102.5 The Game has the radio call.