|NSH||2||1||2||(0 - 0)||5|
|CGY||1||2||0||(0 - 0)||3|
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Since losing 5-0 to Calgary at home on Nov. 30, the Nashville Predators have been one of the best teams in the NHL.
With a 5-3 victory over the Flames on Saturday, the Predators avenged the loss to Calgary and improved to 7-1-2 since that setback - and 22-11-3 overall.
"Any time you get beat at home, especially the way we got beat, it sort of brings clarity into what you don't want to do," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We sort of got our game back in order once that happened."
After losing their last five games against the Flames dating to last season, the Predators had extra motivation.
"We wanted to prove that we could play against them," defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. "I thought we played pretty well tonight. Our goaltending kept us in it at the end there. They had a lot of chances."
In their past four games, all wins, the Predators have used a balanced scoring attack to score 23 goals.
|A Very Good Week|
|What a week for the Preds; coming in off an overtime loss to Detroit last Saturday and staring a bunch of road games in the face, the Preds stepped up and posted a 4-0-0 mark on the week. Opening with a 5-3 win at division rival Columbus and then the next night scoring five second period goals at home to knock off the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-4. Then the team hit the road and rallied from an two-goal deficit to double-up Edmonton 6-3, before closing the week out with today's win in Calgary.
After thriving for much of the season on the strength of team defense, Nashville did it this week with offense, netting 23 goals on the week with at least one tally in all 12 periods. And the offense wasn't a one-line effort, 12 different players scored a goal this week and 19 different players picked up a point on the week. Steve Sullivan was the hero on Monday night with a hat trick. David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist stood out on Tuesday night. Hornqvist followed it with a two-goal, three-point effort at Edmonton and Martin Erat matched it with a three-point afternoon at Calgary. Ryan Jones scored goals in the first three games of the week. Marcel Goc chipped in two goals and five points in the four games. Joel Ward closed the week with back-to-back-to-back multi-point efforts.
The result ... Nashville has 13 points in its last seven games and now sits tied with Chicago on top of the Central Division standings – and has matched LA and San Jose for the best in the Western Conference.
This week's success sets the stage for an entertaining Christmas Week for the Preds. After wrapping up their Western Canadian road trip on Tuesday at Vancouver, the Preds return to Nashville to open a home-and-home showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks – December 26 in Nashville and December 27 in Chicago – a mid-season statement for division supremacy.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
Forwards Marcel Goc and Martin Erat led the way for Nashville on Saturday with a goal and two assists each, while defenseman Cody Franson scored the wining goal in the third period and added an assist. David Legwand and Dave Scatchard also scored, and Joel Ward had two assists.
"Early in the year, we tried to play way too perimeter, a little too cute," Trotz said. "We got back to very basic hockey. Now it's throw some pucks on the net and go to the hard areas and you get rewarded. That's what most teams do in our league now."
Jarome Iginla scored twice and set up another for the Flames (20-11-4) to break out of an eight-game goal drought. Dion Phaneuf also scored, and Olli Jokinen had two assists.
"It was a game that we definitely feel we should have gotten two points out of," said Iginla, whose two second-period goals gave the Flames a 3-2 lead. "We've got ourselves in a bit of a rut where in third periods we're not closing it out and finding ways to get points out of it and wins."
Calgary coach Brent Sutter was pleased that the Flames rebounded from an early 2-0 deficit, but upset his squad couldn't defend the lead.
"It's a disappointing loss," Sutter said. "You're up 3-2 at home, you've got to win, bottom line. We played a team here that's been playing some pretty good hockey. We had an opportunity to win tonight and we let it get by us because of some mistakes. We made some turnovers that you can't make."
Nashville goalie Dan Ellis stopped 29 shots for his third win in a row. At the other end, Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff didn't have one of his better games of the season as he surrendered four goals on 19 shots.
NOTES: Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr played his 700th NHL game, all with the Flames. ... The Predators are 19-18-6 overall against the Flames.
|Martin Erat (12) ASST: Jerred Smithson (1), Marcel Goc (5)|
1 - 0 NSH
|David Legwand (8) ASST: Patric Hornqvist (8), Martin Erat (11)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Dion Phaneuf (8) ASST: Jarome Iginla (18), Mark Giordano (11)|
2 - 1 NSH
|Jarome Iginla (18) ASST: Curtis Glencross (9), Olli Jokinen (17)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Jarome Iginla (19) ASST: Olli Jokinen (18)|
3 - 2 CGY
|Marcel Goc (6) ASST: Joel Ward (11), Cody Franson (6)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Cody Franson (3) ASST: Joel Ward (12), Marcel Goc (6)|
4 - 3 NSH
|EN - Dave Scatchard (3) ASST: Martin Erat (12), Kevin Klein (7)|
5 - 3 NSH
|Robyn Regehr Interference against Patric Hornqvist|
|David Moss Roughing against Dan Hamhuis|
|Jerred Smithson Hooking against Jarome Iginla|
|Patric Hornqvist Roughing against Adam Pardy|
|Adam Pardy Roughing against Patric Hornqvist|
|Brian McGrattan Fighting against Wade Belak|
|Wade Belak Fighting against Brian McGrattan|
|Craig Conroy Tripping against Dave Scatchard|
|Dave Scatchard Boarding against Adam Pardy|
|SA: 32||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 29||EV: 26 - 28|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 3|
|SV%: .906||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 19||TOI: 58:41|
|Saves: 15||EV: 11 - 15|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .789||SH: 0 - 0|