Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators [Game 7]

Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators [Game 7]
Rinaldo gets winner as Predators beat Flames
CALGARY — The Nashville Predators defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday but lost goaltender Pekka Rinne to injury.

Rinne collided with forward Kevin Fiala when Calgarys Sam Bennett tied the game 3-3 at 2:20 of the third period. Rinne remained in the game but left at 5:09 and was replaced by Juuse Saros, who saved all nine shots he faced.

Notes: The Flames lose for the first time on home ice after winning their first two games… Dillon Dube (lower body) returned after missing one game. That bumped Austin Czarnik to the press box for the first time as a healthy scratch… Sean Monahan played in his 400th NHL game.

Video: 10/19/18 Condensed Game: Predators @ Flames

“Theres a lot of confidence in both goaltenders but thats a tough situation,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Thats the life of a goaltender. When you arent starting you have to be ready at any moment. He came in and did his job really well.”

Nashville struck first with Johansen scoring 51 seconds into the game. After its first shot, Calgary went over 16-and-a-half minutes before testing Rinne again, with Lindholm snapping the streak, burying a Johnny Gaudreau set-up at 18:43.

Fiala and Filip Forsberg each had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith and Zac Rinaldo scored for Nashville (6-1-0), which won its fourth straight. The Predators, who havent lost since Oct. 9, 3-0 to the Flames, have at least six wins through their first seven games in a season for the third time in their history (7-0-0 in 2005-06, 6-1-0 in 2015-16).

“Were really confident,” Rinaldo said. “We have that swagger. We have attitude every single game. We bring speed every single game. But the thing about this group is we dont get comfortable. We know every game is going to be a hard-working game. We prepare for hard work every game. Confidence, but not comfortable.”

Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith, Fiala and Filip Forsberg, into an empty net, also scored for Nashville (6-1-0), which has won four straight. The Predators wrap up their two-game road trip on Saturday night in Edmonton.

Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk scored, and Mike Smith made 26 saves for the Flames (4-3-0), who had won two in a row.

“It was a tough game, 3-3 there, and they got a chance to score and that was the difference,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said.

Rinaldo shot by Smiths blocker on a 2-on-1 at 6:31 of the third period to put Nashville up 4-3. It was his first goal for the Predators since signing as a free agent July 2.

“The bench was pumped up,” Laviolette said. “Just a great, great play. We ended up catching numbers going the other way. He made the right decision, made a great shot. It turned out to be the game-winner. It was a big goal.”

The Flames put together a complete victory on Wednesday and thats something they hadnt done all season. They ran all four lines with effectiveness and Mike Smith really stood on his head to protect the Flames lead. That strategy, including peppering the opposition with shots early is something they will have to do tonight in Nashville if they plan on beating the Preds for a second time this season.

Johansen scored 51 seconds into the first period to put Nashville up 1-0. He has six points (two goals, four assists) during a four-game point streak.

“Were feeling good, for sure,” Johansen said. “We understand its a long season and theres a big process but were just going to keep the peddle down and keep continuing to get better.”

Share Share Preview: Calgary Flames vs Nashville Predators 10/19/18 (7/82): Preds Just Another Test For Flames tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports Calgary Flames vs Nashville Predators, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB Where To Watch & Listen BroadcastSchedule BroadcastSchedule TV: SN360 Radio: Sportsnet 960 NHL Standings

Lindholm tied it 1-1 on Calgarys second shot at 18:43. Lindholm has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past six games.

Smith scored on a pass from Kyle Turris 4:09 into the second to put Nashville up 2-1, and Lindholms shot on the power play deflected off Tkachuks skate to tie the game 2-2 at 12:51.

Nashville struck first with Johansen scoring 51 seconds into the game. After its first shot, Calgary went over 16-and-a-half minutes before testing Rinne again, with Lindholm snapping the streak, burying a Johnny Gaudreau set-up at 18:43.

“Every time it looked like we were going to take a step and get some momentum, we gave it back,” Flames coach Bill Peters said.

The best line for Calgary was Bennett, Ryan and James Neal. The trio had a golden opportunity to tie up it once again at 4-4 when Neal set up Bennett at the side of the net with a hard pass, but the puck went wide of the open cage.

“We did some good things, they did some good things. Overall it was a tie game there and we needed a big play there. It came from a guy who probably deserves it the most at that time. Were pumped for [Zac Rinaldo] to get on the board there with our club and make a huge play like that.” — Predators forward Ryan Johansen

Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith, Fiala and Filip Forsberg, into an empty net, also scored for Nashville (6-1-0), which has won four straight. The Predators wrap up their two-game road trip on Saturday night in Edmonton.

“Theyre a good team. They played patient. When they didnt have a sustained forecheck, they sat back in the neutral zone and waited for us to make a mistake.” — Flames defenseman Mark Giordano

Forsberg has six points (four goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak. … Tkachuk has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games. … Flames forward Sean Monahan played his 400th NHL game. … Flames forward Dillon Dube returned after missing one game because of a lower-body injury. 

Nashville Predators Zac Rinaldo, centre, celebrates his goal with teammates Yannick Weber, left, of Switzerland, and Ryan Hartman during NHL hockey action against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Perhaps the biggest surprise for this Nashville team is the performance of their depth players. Colton Sissons, Anthony Bitetto, Dan Hamhuis, Miikka Salomaki, Nick Bonino, Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Hartman have all recorded at least one point, which is at least one point more than second line phenom Kevin Fiala through six games. Zac Rinaldo, who has also not scored a point, has a mere 11 penalty minutes while having played in each game, and he has not been suspended—at least not yet.

CALGARY — Zac Rinaldo’s first goal of the season in the third period was the game-winner on Friday night as the Nashville Predators beat the Calgary Flames 5-3.

Juuse Saros taking a bigger role in the goaltender rotation has also been a huge help for a team whose fans used to believe that their window closed as soon as Rinne steps away from the game. Saros is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 goals allowed average and .902 save percentage in 2 starts against the Islanders, and theres a good chance he gets his third start in the back end of a back to back this weekend as the Preds take on the Edmonton Oilers.

Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith, Kevin Fiala and Filip Forsberg, into an empty net, also scored for Nashville (6-1-0), which has won four straight. The Predators wrap up their two-game road trip on Saturday night in Edmonton.

Share Share Nashville Predators @ Calgary Flames: Fighting Fire With Fire tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports After a strong finish to a homestand that kicked off with a shutout loss in the home opener against the Calgary Flames (4-2-0), the Nashville Predators (5-1-0) head out to southern Alberta as they look to kick off a two-game road trip to the Canadian province with a revenge win.

Elias Lindholm, with his team-leading fifth goal, Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett scored for Calgary (4-3-0). The Flames depart for a two-game road trip that begins in New York on Sunday night against the Rangers.

After Noah Hanifin got caught pinching, Rinaldo broke out on a two-on-one with Ryan Hartman and hung onto the puck the whole way before beating Mike Smith on his blocker side with a perfect wrist shot into the top corner at 6:31 of the third.

In the back-and-forth game, Nashville took the lead four times with Calgary answering back to tie it the first three times.

Outside of their hiccup game against Calgary and early power play issues, the Preds have played like the team expected to be one of the top teams in the National Hockey League. They are averaging 4 goals per game in wins, and 3.17 goals per game over the whole season, both of which are above the league average.

Down 3-2 entering the third, the Flames pulled even at 2:20 when Derek Ryan wired a perfect feed to Sam Bennett, who was breaking in off the wing and went to his backhand to neatly beat Pekka Rinne.

While stretching to try and make the save, Fiala landed on top of Rinne in an awkward-looking collision.

The SOG totals for both teams stayed much lower than Id expect for a while, especially for Calgary. This was definitely one of those periods where the SOG counter on the scorebug didnt reflect the play well—the Flames went 16:36 between their first and second shot on goal, but they got plenty of zone time of their own. If you look at the total shots the Flames took, the period was much closer to even—the Preds took 16 shots (8 got on goal) and the Flames 14 (only 3 got on goal).

Rinne stayed in the game briefly, but came to the bench at 5:09 and after talking with the training staff went to the dressing room. He was replaced by Juuse Saros.

Saros was excellent in relief, getting tested just seconds after he arrived in the crease. Off the ensuing face-off, he had to jab out his right pad to rob Lindholm to keep the game tied.

Zac Rinaldo picked an excellent time to score his first goal as a Predator, giving the Predators the lead back. A few minutes after, Ellis drew an interference penalty and the Preds went on the power play for a chance to pad the lead. Unfortunately, they had no luck. The Flames continued to press to tie it again as the third period waned, eventually causing Fiala to take a hooking penalty with just over four minutes left in the period.

Saros was perfect on nine shots to earn the win and improve to 3-0-0. Rinne had 15 saves when he exited the game.

The Flames then tied the game again on a brutal misplay, where Fiala lost control and skated into Rinne, trapping him against the end boards and leaving the net completely untended. Rinne appeared shaken up on the play and left the game a few minutes later, with Juuse Saros coming in in relief. Saros, who did not get to face any warmup shots, immediately stopped a great chance.

Fiala gave Nashville a 3-2 lead at 14:23 of the second as the Predators converted their first power-play opportunity of the night, courtesy of a double-minor for high-sticking on former Predator James Neal.

With less than two minutes left in the period and a haphazard collection of players on the ice for the Preds, Johnny Gaudreau got the puck behind the goal line and passed up to Elias Lindholm, who scored on the Flames second shot. It was a great play, the kind of thing Id like to see the Predators do more of. Rinne had no idea where the shot was going to come from.

Calgary tied it less than two minutes earlier, connecting on its first power play at 12:51 with Lindholm’s shot caroming in off Tkachuk’s skate.

Nashville struck first, scoring fifty-one seconds into the game. TJ Brodie lost his stick along the sideboards and in going to retrieve it, allowed a two-on-one in front that was converted by Johansen.

Calgary went over 16-and-a-half minutes between shots in the first, with Lindholm snapping the streak, burying a Johnny Gaudreau set-up past Rinne at 18:43 to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Notes: The Flames lose for the first time on home ice after winning their first games… Dillon Dube (lower body) returned after missing one game. That bumped Austin Czarnik to the press box for the first time as a healthy scratch… Sean Monahan played in his 400th NHL game.