Predators record season-high shots on goal in 2-1 victory over Calgary
The Nashville Predators won their third straight contest beating the Calgary Flames 2-1 at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. In a low-scoring game that featured 81 shots on goal, the Predators outshot their opponent 45-36. It was the highest number of shots on goal the Predators have recorded all season.
Every Predator, with the exception of Brian McGrattan recorded a shot on goal. Rookie Craig Smith led the way with seven shots on goal.
“I think everyone was moving their feet well. We were countering well on the regroups. We were getting time and space coming into the zone to shoot the puck. I think everyone was a little trigger happy. It was nice to see,” Smith said.
Head Coach Barry Trotz agreed. “It is good. Everyone had the right mindset in terms of shooting. That’s good to see. We tend to pass up trying to be too pretty sometimes.”
Despite 45 shots on goal, only Matt Halischuk and Colin Wilson were able to beat Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.
“Kiprusoff is such a good goalie,” Trotz explained, “so you want to put a lot of pucks toward the net and you want to create some chances. They’ve been playing too well and he’s been playing too well — you have to put volumes of pucks at him; you’ve got to have some net presence and you’ve got to convert.”
It was Kiprusoff’s first loss in regulation in eight games going 6-0-1 before Tuesday night.
Smith echoed Trotz sentiments. “He’s good. Every goaltender in this League is good. You just need to get pucks and bodies in front of the net. If you get people in front, it is hard for him to see. If you throw pucks on the ice where you can’t really handle them you are going to get some chances like Willy did tonight. That was kind of our mindset.”
Halischuk opened scoring at 11:43 of the first period with his sixth goal of the campaign. McGrattan and Roman Josi picked up the assists. It was McGrattan’s second assist of the season, both coming against his former team.
“Any time that you’re going to have success, you need everybody scoring. Tonight we were able to get our first goal from our fourth line and that was huge for us. Sometimes you talk about that; your fourth line doesn’t always get the accolades that the scorers do but they grind it out and kill penalties. They do all the other grunt work. Tonight, they got a big goal and got us off to a great start,” Trotz said.
The Flames tied the game in the second period when Curtis Glencross picked up his ninth goal of the season.
Nashville took the lead when they scored a power play goal for the sixth game in a row. Wilson scored off of a rebound. “We adjusted on our power play. I slid over into the middle. We tried to open it up a bit. Willy was right there for the rebound. It was a good play. Our adjustment worked and our power play has really been producing lately,” Smith, who took the initial shot on goal, said.
Nashville will try to make it four straight wins on Thursday night when the Detroit Red Wings visit Bridgestone Arena.
Photo credit: AP