They scored a half-dozen Friday at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and
needed all of them to win a 6-5 thriller against the Calgary Flames.
Predators captain Shea Weber scored twice to lead the charge, while
center Matt Cullen had a goal and three assists and right winger
Patric Hornqvist had a goal and two helpers.
"Without a doubt, we'll take that many goals. But at the same time,
we left our goaltenders out to dry," Weber said. "Obviously it's
huge to get that many goals. Hopefully, that can loosen guys up a
bit and make that transition that much easier, but hopefully we're
back to our same way of playing better defensively and keep up the
good offence, as well."
The Flames and Predators are two of NHL's lowest-scoring squads, but
you couldn't tell Friday, when they combined for 11 goals on 51
"You probably wouldn't expect going into tonight there would be 11
goals scored," Cullen said. "Both teams played hard and both teams
have a lot of pride. It was an entertaining game. It was up and
down. It's probably not the way either team would've drawn it up or
preferred it to go, but it's nice to see us get a few pucks in the
back of the net. It was good for us. We've struggled here a bit as
Defensemen Victor Bartley and left winger Viktor Stalberg also
scored for the Predators (30-31-10) in Friday's win.
The Flames (28-35-7) got a pair of goals and an assist from left
winger Michael Cammalleri, while defensemen Kris Russell also had a
three-point effort, including his first goal since early December.
Right winger Jiri Hudler and center Mikael Backlund also lit the
lamp for the hosts.
"I thought we almost had one at the end there, too. It would have
been nice," Cammalleri said. "You can't expect to win games when you
give up six, for sure. One thing we're proud of, especially in the
last little while, is not giving up as many chances. Tonight, we
would like to do a better job of that."
The Flames seemed to have the early momentum, but that all changed
in a 49-second span.
At the 5:10 mark of the first period, Bartley blasted a slap shot
through the five-hole of Flames rookie goalie Joni Ortio for the
first goal of his NHL career. It also happened to be Nashville's
first shot of the night.
Less than a minute later and on the Predators' second attempt, Weber
capitalized on a pass from center Mike Fisher, sliding into the
crease as his shot found the back of the net.
Russell got one back for the Flames just 34 seconds before the first
intermission, scoring on a shot from the blueline while Predators
center Colin Wilson was serving a holding-the-stick penalty.
The teams traded goals in a wild span of less than four minutes in
the middle period.
Hornqvist extended Nashville's lead at the 4:10 mark, reaching to
tap a pass from defenseman Michael Del Zotto past Ortio on an
Cammalleri scored on a one-timer at 6:23, extending his point streak
to six games and giving Russell a two-point night with the assist.
Just 49 seconds after that, Hudler got the puck past Predators
goalie Pekka Rinne to tie it up at 3.
Stalberg scored on his own rebound at 8:10, with Ortio headed to the
bench and backup goalie Joey MacDonald making a relief appearance.
Rinne's night was over soon after. The Predators netminder made a
mistake handling the puck and Flames left winger Lance Bouma set up
Backlund for the tying goal. Rinne was replaced by Carter Hutton.
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Weber gave the Predators the lead with a booming slap shot on the
power play at 14:28 of the third period, taking advantage while
Flames left winger Curtis Glencross served a hooking penalty.
Cullen provided a bit of insurance with a re-direction of a shot
by defenseman Roman Josi to make it 6-4, but Cammalleri scored his
second of the night at 17:36.
The Flames generated some chances
late but could not find the equalizer. The late flurry was not
enough to satisfy coach Bob Hartley, who had a simple explanation
for what went wrong.
"No defense," Hartley said. "And I'm not pointing at our goalie or
our defensemen. I'm talking about our team game.
"We worked very hard to come back a few times in the game, but the
way that we were committed defensively tonight, I don't think we had
Ortio finished with four goals allowed on 13 shots, while MacDonald
surrendered two on nine shots.
Rinne got the hook after giving up four on 18 shots, and Hutton was
beaten just once on 11 shots.
The Flames are back in action Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers
at Rexall Place. The Predators are headed to the Windy City for
Sunday's meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks.
NOTES: After Friday's game, the Flames assigned G Joni Ortio to the
Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League. Flames G Karri Ramo,
who has been out since Feb. 1 due to a knee injury, will be back for
Saturday's road game ... Flames LW Kenny Agostino made his NHL debut
for Calgary. The 21-year-old Agostino was acquired from the
Pittsburgh Penguins organization as part of the return for longtime
captain Jarome Iginla last March and signed a two-year, entry-level
contract earlier this week after completing his senior season with
the Yale Bulldogs. ... It was also a special night for Predators C
Calle Jarnkrok, who was skating in his first NHL game. Jarnkrok was
acquired in the deal that sent Nashville's longest-tenured player, C
David Legwand, to the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL trade deadline.
The 22-year-old had five goals and two assists in five games for the
Predators' affiliate in Milwaukee before being recalled. ... The
Predators were missing three forwards who suffered upper-body
injuries in Thursday's loss in Vancouver — RW Patrick Eaves, C Paul
Gaustad and C Nick Spaling ... Flames RW Jiri Hudler returned to the
lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury.
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