The Nashville Predators beat the Calgary Flames 2-0 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday afternoon in a game that did not solve any of the Preds' recent offensive woes but did produce a better showing on defense.
Pekka Rinne had his first shutout of the season, stopping all 33 Calgary shots. It was Rinne's 21st career shutout, tying him with Tomas Vokoun on the all-time Predator list.
The offense was supplied on a freak goal by Niclas Bergfors as well as a late goal by Sergei Kostitsyn.
Miikka Kiprusoff took the loss even though he was rarely challenged by the Preds who only mustered 14 shots, including only two in the final period.
The Predators evened their record at 3-3-1 and broke their four game losing streak. They were 1-2 on the three game road trip to Western Canada.
The Predators returned to Nashville after the game where they will face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday at the Bridgestone Arena.
Comments from the Couch...
Cal O'Reilly was the only scratch with Mattias Ekholm going back to Europe earlier in the day. David Legwand wore the "A" in place of the injured Mike Fisher.
The Preds had a familiar start with an early penalty by Brian McGrattan who tripped Derek Smith 2:19 into the contest. Calgary had two shots on net on their power play.
The Predators had their first power play at 14:30 when Tom Kostopoulos was called for roughing Jordin Tootoo. The Predators registered zero shots on the man-advantage.
The Predators had several stretches in the opening period where they could not get the puck out of their end of the ice and were having trouble with icing calls and breakouts.
The Preds were outshot 8-3 in the opening period but the Corsi was closer at 16-13.
The Predators scored on their fifth shot of the game at 2:34 when the team was breaking for the net and the puck bounced off a Calgary defenseman and then off Bergfors and slipped past Kiprusoff into the net. Bergfors, Jack Hillen and McGrattan all had their first points as Predators on the goal.
David Legwand was called for tripping Tim Jackman at 3:28. Calgary had one shot on the power play.
Rene Bourque had to be helped off the ice at 4:14 when a pass deflected off of Jon Blum's stick and struck him below the visor.
At 6:21, Calgary thought they had scored a goal but it was waived off and then the call was confirmed on review. The puck appeared to cross the line but the issue was revealed to be incidental contact with Rinne.
Goaltender interference was called on Cory Sarich at 16:34 when he fell all over Rinne who was scrambling in the blue ice. The Preds had two shots but did not connect during the penalty.
With 30.8 seconds left in the period, Tootoo was sent to the box after tripping Smith.
The Predators looked much more inspired during the middle period, especially after getting the fluky type goal.
Even though the Preds had nine shots in the period, Calgary still outshot them with 11. The Corsi was more pronounced at 23-15.
The period started with 1:30 of carry-over power play for Calgary. The Preds' penalty-kill unit held the Flames shot-less.
Blum made the defensive play of the game at 9:01 when he dove across the blue ice behind Rinne to deflect a Olli Jokinen shot on the empty side of the net.
A pair of penalties occurred giving both teams power play time as well as four on four play. Craig Smith was called for hooking Brendan Morrison at 10:07 and then Jerome Iginla was called for tripping Legwand at 11:17. Calgary had the only shot of the exchange.
Kostitsyn scored at 14:36 when he and Smith had a two on one breakaway and Smith made a perfect pass at the last moment for the setup.
Calgary outshot the Preds 14-2 and led the Corsi 30-8 in the final period
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass