The Nashville Predators headed west last Sunday with hopes of a team-building road trip that would solidify the squad and bring home a few points in the standings.
After two games, the team appeared frustrated and fractured with zero points to show for the effort. The frustration level peaked during the third period in Vancouver on Thursday night when Shea Weber and Ryan Suter both ended up in the penalty box with senseless penalties born out of frustration in the 5-1 loss.
Shea Weber was lucky that he received only a $2500 fine for his boarding penalty on Jannik Hansen from Brendan Shanahan after his hearing yesterday afternoon.
Today's game with the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome is a match between teams with 2-3-1 records that have played inconsistently thus far in the young season.
The Predators have struggled against Calgary in recent years going 2-8-2 overall and 2-4-0 in Calgary the last three seasons. Last season, the Flames won all four games with the Preds.
Pekka Rinne (2-3-1, 2.96, .910) has yet to get a win against Calgary in his career and is coming off a string of games where he has received poor defensive help in front of him and no offense behind him. There has been no announcement or indication of a change from the Predators but it would not be completely surprising to see Anders Lindback (0-0-0, 1.50, .958) in net today.
Miikka Kiprusoff (2-2-0, 2.27, .926) will be in net for the Flames as indicated on the team web site.
We discussed today's match with Kyle Wilson from FlamesNation on Smashville On The Glass Radio yesterday and he was pessimistic about Calgary's chances today since they have a history of playing poorly in the rare matinees that they play.
The Preds only play three day games this season and were 1-2-1 in afternoon contests last season. Historically, Nashville has done well in matinees going 20-7-7 since the 2003-2004 season.
The Predators are still without three of their more experienced players with Marty Erat, Mike Fisher and Francis Bouillon on the shelf. There are indications that Bouillon is the closest of the bunch to return which would be a shot in the arm to the struggling Predator third line on defense.
With the announcement this morning that Mattias Ekholm is headed back to Sweden, the Predators only have 21 players available for today's game, with only six on defense.
Puck drop will be shortly after 3 p.m. CDT and will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass