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PREDATORS TRY TO STAY UNBEATEN WHEN THEY HOST CALGARY
Thu, 18 Nov 2010 11:00 AM EST

CALGARY FLAMES (2-2-0, 4 pts)

at NASHVILLE PREDATORS (3-0-1, 7 pts)

Puck drops: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Nashville -145, Calgary +125, Total: 5

For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Nashville Predators have earned points in their first four games of the season. After winning their first three games, the Preds failed to hold a 2-0 lead entering the third period and lost when Brooks Laich scored for the Capitals in OT. The Predators and the Maple Leafs are the only two teams to not suffer a regulation loss. That stat has little solace for forward Joel Ward who was disappointed they couldn’t hold onto to their lead. “There’s no choice but to take (the one point),” Predators forward Joel Ward said. “But at the end of the day, we were up by two, and in the third, that’s when you have to put away teams to be a good team in this league. You have to finish off people, and that’s what it takes.” NFL spreads.

Nashville is getting balanced scoring so far this season as nine different players have a least three points. Steve Sullivan leads the Preds with four goals, and is one of three different Predators to score game-winning goals. Nashville should get even better with the return of goaltender Pekka Rinne who has missed the last three games after suffering a lower-body injury in the season opener. Rinne has improved each of the last two seasons, winning 61 games while posting a .914 save pct. His continued development will be a huge key to the Preds, who have yet to win a playoff series despite qualifying for the postseason in five of the past six seasons, earning 100 points in three of those seasons.

The Flames secret to winning this season is not being shut out. In the two games where they have scored a goal, they have won, while they have not scored in either of their two losses. Their eight goals scored are the fewest in the NHL. A poster boy for the Flames offensive struggles through the first few weeks of the season is two-time Rocket Richard Award winner Jarome Iginla. The owner of 442 career goals has scored just onece despite being ranked in the top-5 in the league with 4.5 shots per game. The Flames rank second in the NHL in shots on goal, yet their 5.6 shot percentage is second-worst to the Devils 4.9 percentage. As bad as these numbers look, consider that the Flames scored five goals in their 5-3 win over the Oilers on Saturday. They had scored just three goals on 97 shots on goal entering that game for a shooting percentage of 3.1 percent. Iginla netted the game-winner on the power play (just the second in the team’s 17 power-play chances) and snapping a 14-game goal drought for Iginla dating back to last season. After the game, Iginla realized how important it was for the Flames to break through on offense. “It was a really big win. It was only three games into the season, but there is pressure and early in the season everything is magnified. We look at it as a huge potential for momentum.” NFL lines.

Calgary defenseman Raitis Ivanans is still dealing with concussion problems after his fight on opening night. The same can be said for Rene Bourque, who is also battling a head injury. Defenseman Adam Pardy (shoulder) is out indefinitely.

For Nashville, Martin Erat could return Tuesday after missing three games with back spasms. The status of Marcel Goc, who was hurt late in Saturday’s game against the Caps, is unknown. As mentioned earlier, goaltender Pekka Rinne is expected to start.

Few goaltenders have been as successful as Miikka Kiprusoff over the last five seasons. His 201 wins over that span are the most in the NHL and along with Martin Brodeur are the only goaltenders to average 40 wins per season. He has not been his normal self so far this season however, as he is 2-2 with a 2.75 GAA and a save percentage of .895. The Flames and Kiprusoff have played very well in Nashville recently, having won four straight and five of their past six games with Kiprusoff starting each game and posting a .921 save percentage and a 2.17 GAA. Look for the Flames to continue the success they had scoring against the Oilers and defeat the Preds for the fifth straight time in Nashville.

The FoxSheets says:

CALGARY is 32-18 ATS (+51.6 Units) when playing against a top-level team (Win Pct. > 75%) since 1996. The average score was CALGARY 2.9, OPPONENT 2.9 – (Rating = 1*). NFL betting lines.

CALGARY is 18-8 ATS (+26.1 Units) in road games when playing only their 2nd game in 5 days over the last 3 seasons. The average score was CALGARY 2.6, OPPONENT 2.1 – (Rating = 1*).


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