Flames 3 Predators 1
NASHVILLE — 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 centre 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.
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 defenceman 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.