NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Call it a good sign for the streaking Calgary Flames.
David Moss and Olli Jokinen each scored in the second period to snap personal goal droughts, and the Flames beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 Tuesday night for their season-high fifth straight win. Moss hadn't scored a goal since Dec. 3, and Jokinen got his first goal since Dec. 9.
"As a group, we're not thinking about this guy hasn't scored," said Flames center Daymond Langkow, who had an empty netter. "We're just trying to play our game as a team. But yeah, it was good. Moss really goes to the net hard and having fun there for a few seconds and finally put it home. And Olli going to the net there for the rebound. Obviously big goals for us."
Miikka Kiprusoff, the Finnish Olympian, stopped 27 shots as the Flames won their fourth straight game in Nashville. Calgary has won five of the past six games in this series with a 2-1 edge this season.
"It's a big win for us," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. "It's a road win. We need points obviously, and it's a huge win anyway you look at it. But again, it's a lesson to be learned for us in the third."
Nashville's three-game winning streak was snapped. Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal in the third, but that was it off Kiprusoff.
"We didn't have a lot of motivation, and it gave Calgary a lot of confidence going into the third period with a 2-0 lead, and that comes out to be the difference in the hockey game," Nashville forward Steve Sullivan said.
|Preds Soar at World Juniors|
The five Preds prospects at this year's World Junior Championships each posted strong performances -- combining for three medals (2 Silver, 1 Bronze) while scoring seven goals and 26 points.
Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi continued to establish themselves as big-time blue chip prospects. Josi's Switzerland squad was the surprise team of the tournament, not only making it into the top-three in Pool A, but advancing out of the Quarterfinals and ultimately a fourth place finish. Ellis, in the meantime, posted eight points in the tournament, the second highest total among tournament defensemen, earning rave reviews from scouts and media for offensive abilities.
But it was the three other Preds prospects who saw their future prospects rise the most. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm, a fourth round pick this past summer, led the tournament with a +10 plus/minus rating in helping Sweden to a 5-1-0 record and Bronze Medal finish. Jani Lajunen, a seventh round pick in 2008, finished second on Team Finland with five points and was honored as one of Finland's Top-3 Players of the Tournament.
And Gabriel Bourque, a fifth round pick this past summer, became a household name among Canadian fans and media. Bourque, who surprised many people just by being selected to the team, scored a Team Canada World Junior record seven points in his debut. His energy, speed, and physical play on Canada's "checking line" led TSN commentator Bob McKenzie to gush over Bourque's NHL future.
Still, as strong as the Preds prospects performed, this year's World Junior tournament will be remembered for the two classic contests between USA and Canada, a 5-4 Canadian come-from-behind shootout win on New Year's Eve and a 6-5 overtime win by the US in the Gold Medal Game.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
Moss celebrated his 200th NHL game by scoring his seventh goal of the season, and it came at 9:32 of the second period after a scrum in front of the net with Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis on his back.
"It's nice to get one," Moss said. "It's been a while. Those are the types of goals that I like to score, and hopefully there's more to come."
Ellis stopped a shot from Dion Phaneuf near the blue line with a kick save but couldn't stop Jokinen from scoring off the rebound.
The Flames have allowed only five goals in this streak. Kiprusoff has given up only four goals in four of the victories.
Sutter wasn't happy with Nashville outshooting Calgary 9-6 in the third and making it tight with the lone goal. He took a timeout after Hornqvist's goal to refocus his Flames.
"We just sat back too much. You got a lead like that we don't want to play that way where we allow them to attack, and we're not the team pushing and pursuing the puck like we need to. That allowed them to create some scoring chances. They had a lot of quality scoring chances in the third," Sutter said.
Nashville came in having scored four goals in 14 of the past 24 games. The Predators got the man advantage midway through the third, and Kiprusoff stopped all three shots.
"I think he got a little lucky too, but he's absolutely one of the best goaltenders in the world," Hornqvist said.
But Robyn Regehr was called for hooking at 12:42, and Nashville didn't waste this chance. Sullivan passed from the boards to Hornqvist at the edge of the crease. He flipped the puck over Kiprusoff at 13:45. Kiprusoff held up under a flurry of shots until Langkow sealed the victory.
NOTES: Flames defenseman Cory Sarich returned for his first game since Nov. 23. He had missed 19 games with a foot injury. ... Nashville dropped to 15-2-1 when scoring on the power play. ... Jay Cutler, quarterback of the NFL's Chicago Bears who played at Vanderbilt in college, was at the game.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On allowing a goal with 18 seconds to play in the second period…
For them it was great timing; for us, it couldn’t have been worse. It was a one-goal hockey game. You’re one puck away, and then all of a sudden you’re two pucks back, or three to win. That was huge.
Today we played hard, but we were missing that little edge until we got down two pucks and then finally got that goal. In the third we played very well, in terms of forcing them to take penalties. Looking back, 20/20, that second goal was absolutely monumental for them.
I just wish we could have those 18 seconds back in the second period. You might have been looking at overtime, just like Canada and the US [in the World Junior Championship].
On Calgary playing so well on the road…
We find the same thing – we can get guys to buy in a little easier on the road because it’s ‘you against the world.’ They seem to play a very detailed game on the road and play hard. They’ve got a good team. They’re hard to play; and for them, we’re hard to play. Tonight they were just a little bit better.
On Nashville’s energy level…
Obviously you’d like to [see the same elevated energy level in each period], but sometimes the other team does a really good job checking you – I’m not going to take anything away from Calgary. We had to be a little bit more emotionally determined. They were doing a really good job defensively. They were on the puck; they were skating well; they were hanging onto it and doing all the little things. In the third you saw that little bit of extra determination – we drew penalties, we got more chances – that is sometimes the difference when two clubs match up pretty well. We got it to a one-goal game, and we got some chances with six minutes to go, but ‘close’ won’t get us any points.
On generating chances against Miikka Kiprusoff…
I thought they blocked a lot of shots. Some of our best looks at the net ended up getting blocked.
Forward Steve Sullivan
On Nashville’s overall play against Calgary…
We didn’t have a lot of motivation and it gave Calgary a lot of confidence going into the third period with a 2-0 lead and that comes out to be the difference in the hockey game.
On how well Calgary protected their lead…
They are sound defensively. They’ve got a good core defense back there and they take a lot of pride in their defense. They probably have the best goaltender in the world. We knew that and we tried to take his eyes away and I thought we had a lot of desperation in the third period but we didn’t have that in the first or second periods.
On Nashville’s power play improvement…
We’ve got a great power play going. We’ve got good puck possession and we are making good plays. We got a goal tonight and we’ve got to keep doing that in every game.
Forward Patric Hornqvist
On Kiprosoff’s play tonight…
He’s a good goaltender and we needed to take his eyes away and we didn’t do it that well. I think he got a little lucky too but he’s absolutely one of the best goaltenders in the world.
On Calgary’s second goal in the second period…
That was a big goal for them, with 21 seconds left in the second period. That was a big goal for them but I think we played pretty well in the third and we have to keep doing that.
On having some quality chances…
Yeah, maybe on the power play. We need to work harder in the first two periods. If we can play the same game that we play in the third, I think we can win a lot of games.
Defenseman Ryan Suter
On Calgary’s second goal at the end of the second period…
Yeah, when you give up a goal at the end of the period or at the beginning of a period, it usually comes back to bite you. It was unfortunate but we battled hard in the third period. We just fell short.
On having a third-period effort throughout the game…
Yeah, I think that if we play with a little more desperation throughout the game then it could’ve been a different outcome, but we didn’t and they did and they won.