The Nashville Predators had just clinched a playoff berth. The Calgary Flames need every point they can get. Also, the Preds played in Washington, DC yesterday while the Flames were already in Music City waiting patiently.
In short, you could see this one coming.
With 17,113 looking on at Bridgestone Arena, Calgary used their desperation to put away the Predators, 5-2.
“I don’t think we were at our best tonight,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “It seemed like we were slow to get into the battles or at least getting our second or third man into the battles.”
Carter Hutton started in order to give Vezina Trophy candidate Pekka Rinne a night off and 25 saves in the loss. His counterpart at the other end of the ice, Jonas Hiller, turned aside 27 of Nashville’s 29 shots and earned third star of the game honors as a result.
The Preds jumped out to an early lead when Roman Josi tallied his 15th goal of the season just six and a half minutes into the game.
“He’s been one of the top defenseman in the League the entire year,” Laviolette said. “He’s able to defend and he’s able to create things offensively. We are one of the top teams in the League and it’s because of his attributions.”
Calgary then went on a tear. Lance Bouma, Kris Russel, Michael Ferland and Jiri Hudler all scored before the end of the second period and, essentially, put the Preds away.
Seth Jones pulled his team without two midway through the third period but Bouma would pot his second of the game on the empty net to round out the scoring.
“We did get better in the third period and tried to climb back into it but that’s not a hole you want to dig,” Laviolette said.
Nashville will try to rebound against another desperate hockey club, the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver is second in the Pacific Division but just four points removed from being on the outside looking in.
“You want to win every game, especially at home,” Josi said. “You want to come out with a good effort and it was not our best game. We need to be better Tuesday.”
Puck drops at 7:00pm Central.
MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 7:45 remaining in regulation):
1. Roman Josi (NSH)
2. Lance Bouma (CGY)
3. Jonas Hiller (CGY)
THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Jiri Hudler (CGY)
2. Jonas Hiller (CGY)
3. Roman Josi (NSH)
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // TheGameNashville.com