Calgary Flames lose first home-game of the season to Nashville Predators

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 19: Nashville Predators players celebrate a goal against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game on October 19, 2018 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 19: Nashville Predators players celebrate a goal against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game on October 19, 2018 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames attempted to win their first three home games to start the season off for the first time in almost three decades but unfortunately fell short.

Another day, another loss. The Calgary Flames faced off against the Nashville Predators for the second time in five games. Heading into this game, the Preds were 5-1-0 with their only loss coming against the Flames in Mike Smith‘s shutout performance. He got the nod again tonight, but let in a goal a minute into the game this time.

Sean Monahan was playing in his 400th game tonight which seems insane. I feel like he’s only been in the league for a couple of years. Where has the time even gone!?

Dillon Dube also made his way into the lineup after being a scratch last game after dealing with some lower-body stuff. Tonight, Austin Czarnik was scratched (and Garnet Hathaway made it into the lineup again for some reason).

The Flames haven’t won their first three home games since 1991 and failed to do that again tonight due to a 5-3 loss to the Preds. Let’s see how they got here.

First period

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Less than a minute into the game, what seemed like an innocent dump-in by the Predators turned out to be.. not that. The Preds beat the Calgary Flames to the puck at the boards, Filip Forsberg got the puck at the boards behind Mike Smith, and easily found Ryan Johansen who made it 1-0.

About a minute later, Dillon Dube got a puck that was turned over in the Preds’ zone and tried to go five-hole on Pekka Rinne but still hasn’t found his first NHL goal.

For the next time minutes, it was quite a slow game. The Flames couldn’t manage to get a shot on goal besides their one from Dube, but the Preds put up a few. None were great chances though and it was somewhat of a boring game, for lack of better terms. With around seven minutes to go, the 3M line put up some great pressure in the offensive zone and the game finally picked up.

After that pressure, the Preds went the other way and the Flames gave a puck over to Craig Smith, but Mike Smith saved it.

With less than two minutes to go, Johnny Gaudreau skates through about three Preds players (as he does), goes around the net, then Mark Giordano got the puck at the boards who got it back to Gaudreau. Rinne though Gaudreau was going to try one of his sneaky wrap-arounds, but Gaudreau quickly got it over to Elias Lindholm who put it past Rinne. 1-1 game and Lindholm’s fifth goal of the season. That was only the Flames third shot on goal, too,

Although the Preds outshot the Flames 8-3, it was still somewhat evenly played, with the Preds having 16 shot attempts to the Flames’ 14. However, the Preds have eight scoring chances to the Flames’ five. Let’s head to the second period.

Second period

About a minute and a half into the game, the 3M line go down the offensive zone and some nice passing plays from Michael Frolik over to Mikael Backlund and to Matthew Tkachuk looked like a sure goal. There was basically a wide net and Tkachuk’s stick was somewhat held down by Ryan Ellis‘ stick and couldn’t quite get a shot there.

A few minutes later, the Calgary Flames got stuck in their own zone and as they’re battling for the puck and nobody’s on Craig Smith. There were about three Flames in the corner, Kevin Fiala won the puck battle who got it over to Smith who was right in front of Mike Smith and easily got a backhand goal. 2-1 Preds.

Around the eight-minute mark, the Preds had a few good shifts in the Flames’ zone and Mike Smith had to be sharp and save a few high-danger chances from the Preds.

Shortly after, the Flames went on the powerplay which has been 0/12 the last three games. It started off a little slow, but they got going and it worked. Gaudreau had the puck behind the net, passed it over to Giordano at the line who slid it over to Elias Lindholm, Lindholm shot it on net with Tkachuk planted in front who had the tip and it slid slowly past Rinne. That’s easily Tkachuk’s best move is finding the puck in front of the goalie. We’ve got a 2-2 game!

After the Flames PP expired, they sustained the pressure until the Preds finally got it out of their zone which resulted in James Neal taking a double-minor for high-sticking Miikka Salomaki, so this was a four-minute penalty the Flames needed to kill.

Early in the powerplay, Lindholm had the chance to clear the puck, but somewhat fanned on it so the Preds got the puck and Mike Smith wasn’t quick enough to stop Kevin Fiala on his right side. That’s Fiala’s first of the season.

The second penalty was much better for the Flames, they barely gave the Preds the opportunity to even cleanly enter the zone, and this one was easily killed off.

Late in the period, the Flames third-line had a great shift with sustained pressure, but unfortunately couldn’t quite get any great shots on net. TJ Brodie also got a good shot on Rinne with less than 30 seconds to go, but this period finished 3-2 for the Preds.

Despite the score, I thought the Calgary Flames actually played a much better period. The shots were even, 10-10, and the Flames had 22 shot-attempts at 5v5 compared to the Preds’ 15. While the Flames let the Preds get a few too many high-danger chances in one period (nine), it was a much more action-packed period compared to the first. Let’s head to the final frame.

Third period

The Preds had a good chance right off the faceoff and Mike Smith looked a little scrambled, but the puck stayed out.  The Calgary Flames then went down the other way and had a couple of good chances as well, but nothing resulted from it.

Shortly after, the Flames third line finally got rewarded with a great pass from Derek Ryan who found Sam Bennett to his right and it’s now a tied game less than three minutes in! Who else is shocked that Bennett now has two goals in seven games?

A couple of minutes later, the third line was at it again with some good chances from Ryan and Bennett, but Rinne found it this time. However, Rinne started talking to the ref and left after being hit by Fiala after Bennett scored. So Juuse Saros would relieve him and had to instantly make an incredible save on Lindholm.

About a minute after, Zac Rinaldo, who was on a bit of a two-on-one breakaway, had a great snipe past Smith, so the Flames would be down a goal again.

Shortly after, Sam Bennett had another great chance to tie it up, but much like the first period, it was an unlucky play for the Flames. Bennett got it past Saros’ five-hole but it went wide.

The Flames took a powerplay with a little over four minutes to go, but couldn’t capitalize. As soon as their powerplay expired, they took out Mike Smith for the extra attacker. They had a couple of good chances, but with less than a minute left, the Preds got an empty-net goal and won this game 5-3.

Next. Should Sam Bennett stay or should he go?. dark

The Calgary Flames played a pretty good third period and a good game overall, but unfortunately had a couple of unlucky breaks and couldn’t come out on top. They are still over 0.500 through their first seven games though, which I guess is a bonus. Silver linings.