The Nashville Predators dropped their second consecutive game to the Calgary Flames 5-2. This is Nashville’s sixth loss on the road. However, they are still tied for first place in the Central Division with 39 points and a record of 19-10-1.

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Colton Sissons, Craig Smith

Assists

Roman Josi, Miikka Salomaki, Mattias Ekholm

Calgary Key Stats

Goals

Oliver Kylington, Sean Monahan, Garnet Hathaway, Alan Quine, Elias Lindholm

Assists

Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau (2), Noah Hanifin, Travis Hamonic, Matthew Tkachuk, Derek RyanRasmus Andersson

What Happened

The Flames came out strong and only 1:12 into the first period and on the first shot on goal, Kylington smacked the puck over Saros’ glove from the slot. However, the Flames managed just three more shots the entire period, as Nashville began to play better in front of their goaltender. With time winding down in the first, Sissons redirected a Josi shot past Mike Smith to pull even with the Flames heading into intermission.

A rather forgettable second period ended with a 2-1 Flames lead thanks to an incredible backhand shot from Monahan. Left uncovered in the slot, Monahan roofed the puck over Saros’ shoulder.

The Predators had some life due to Smith’s hard wrist shot. He fired one on net and it trickled through the other Smith’s body. Calgary came right back when Hathaway tipped a hard blast from the point by Saros. The Flames fanned the fire and tacked on two more goals before time expired. Quine capitalized on a turnover, and Lindholm buried the empty-netter.

Calgary came into the game having had won 9-of-13. With the win, the Flames grabbed their fifth straight against Nashville. One might even say they’re “red hot.”

Looking Forward

Nashville has not won on the road since their dramatic comeback against the Dallas Stars on November 10th. P.K. Subban, Kyle Turris, Viktor Arvidsson, and Filip Forsberg were all in the lineup that day. It’s amazing how quickly things can change.

The Predators have been outscored 19-14 in their last six contests- 
11 of those goals were at even strength. In that span, they are 2-4-0 and it gets worse. Goaltenders Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne combine for only 129 saves on 148 shot attempts (an overall save percentage of .872%). 

Ryan Johansen has shot the puck on the net seven times in the last six games. On the other hand, Craig Smith has 15 shots in the last six games. Smith has also scored five points, while Johansen has four. The difference between the two is the way they’re playing: Smith is skating with an edge, and Johansen has been underwhelming. 

Roman Josi has picked up 11 assists in the past 12 games but seems to be on the ice whenever opposing teams scored. His +/- rating has taken a huge hit, as he has combined for a -9 in those 12 games. 

Both Miikka Salomaki and Colton Sissons had a productive road trip. Sissons netted two goals and picked up an assist, and Salomaki picked up two assists as well. 

The Predators are having a hard time creating a presence on the ice, as both Calgary and Vancouver dominated the majority of the games. It isn’t for a lack of physicality. Nashville has closed down the boards with 57 total hits in two games. But something is missing.

Nashville will begin a three game homestand starting Tuesday when the Ottawa Senators come to Bridgestone. 

Also, if Rocco Grimaldi would drive to the net instead of dumping it into the corners, he would be a shorter Viktor Arvidsson (and Arvidsson is 5’8, so go figure). 

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators

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