The Nashville Predators limped out of the gate with seven losses in 12 games to make many wonder if a Stanley Cup Finals hangover was weighing heavily on their minds. The Music City residents changed their tune in short order, winning 15 of their subsequent 19 contests heading into the finale of a three-game trek through Western Canada and a date with the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
In-season acquisition Kyle Turris collected a goal and an assist in Thursday’s 4-0 win against Edmonton to give him nine points (two goals, seven assists) during his six-game point streak. “Sometimes you make a trade like that (and) they never find their footing. He’s come in, and that line has just been terrific every night,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said of Turris fitting right in with linemates Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith following a three-way trade on Nov. 5. While Nashville owns a 5-0-1 mark in December, Calgary has lost some of its steam with losses in six of nine outings (3-5-1) this month to fall on the wrong side of the early playoff picture. Johnny Gaudreau scored in a 3-2 loss to San Jose on Thursday and had an assist in the Flames’ 3-2 shootout win in Nashville on Oct. 24.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), CBC, Sportsnet (Calgary)
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (20-7-4): Filip Forsberg, who notched an assist on Thursday to extend his point streak to three games, scored a power-play goal in the first encounter versus Calgary. Defenseman Roman Josi also tallied with the man-advantage in that contest as well as on Thursday to record his second point of the road trip. Fiala netted a power-play goal versus the Oilers to increase his point streak to six games (five goals, three assists) while fellow forward Calle Jarnkrok owns a four-game run with three goals and two assists.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (16-13-3): Calgary’s power play is mired in a 2-for-28 funk since Nov. 28, with the only spark it provided coming from coach Glen Gulutzan. “I thought the power plays in the second (period) took some momentum out of our sails,” Gulutzan said. “Couldn’t win a draw on the (38-second) 5-on-3. And the other full power play I don’t think we even got in (the offensive zone). So it took a little zip out of us.” For the record, the Flames failed on all four of their opportunities with the man advantage in the previous encounter versus Nashville.
1. Calgary C Sam Bennett has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past nine games after mustering three points in his previous 23 contests.
2. Nashville G Pekka Rinne has stopped 131 of 140 shots to post a 3-0-1 mark this month.
3. Flames G Mike Smith has permitted seven goals in his last four outings, but owns a 1-1-2 mark to show for it.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Flames 2