Game Day: Calgary Flames at Nashville Predators

 

Keep your eyes on Miikka Kiprusoff and Shea Weber

 
 
 
 
Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber, seen trying to block a shot by former teammate, Minnesota Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, in a recent game, for some reason doesn’t bring his toughest game against the Calgary Flames, averaging less than one hit a game against them in his career.
 

Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber, seen trying to block a shot by former teammate, Minnesota Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, in a recent game, for some reason doesn’t bring his toughest game against the Calgary Flames, averaging less than one hit a game against them in his career.

Photograph by: Mark Humphrey, AP

Calgary Flames (11-12-4) at Nashville Predators (11-13-6)

6 p.m., Bridgestone Arena

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: FAN 960

THE FLAMES

Keep Your Eye On

Miikka Kiprusoff — Road-wobbly Flames eager to see No. 34 back in business. His lifetime record at Nashville is 8-6-1.

The Lines

* A.Tanguay M.Cammalleri J.Iginla

* C.Glencross M.Stajan L.Stempniak

* J.Hudler M.Backlund B.Comeau

* T.Jackman R.Cervenka B.McGrattan

The Pairings

* T.J.Brodie J.Bouwmeester

* M.Giordano D.Wideman

* C.Butler D.Smith

The Goalies

* M.Kiprusoff

* J.MacDonald

The Injuries

* C Paul Byron (hand)

THE PREDATORS

Keep Your Eye On

Shea Weber — Ornery captain, six foot four and 232 pounds, has recorded only 17 hits in 24 career meetings against Calgary.

The Lines

* T.Beck M.Fisher M.Erat

* Z.Boychuk C.Smith M.Halischuk

* G.Bourque D.Legwand N.Spaling

* R.Clune C.Mueller B.Yip

The Pairings

* R.Josi S.Weber

* V.Bartley K.Klein

* R.Ellis J.Blum

The Goalies

* P.Rinne

* C.Mason

The Injuries

* D Hal Gill (lower body), D Scott Hannan (upper body), C Colin Wilson (upper body), C Paul Gaustad (upper body), RW Patric Hornqvist (upper body)

5 THINGS TO WATCH

1. ROAD RASH — With their last success away from the Saddledome more than a month ago (0-7-1 since a Feb. 17 win in Dallas), here are the Flames’ top performers on the road. LW Alex Tanguay leads the team with 10 points. LW Michael Cammalleri has nine. LW Steve Begin, at plus-one, owns the best road rating. And with five goals, Tanguay is the pace-setter in that department.

2. PREDS’ PRATFALL — Nashville is stumbling badly. And not everything can be blamed on LW Sergei Kostitsyn. During a 1-4-0 road trip, the Preds allowed 20 goals (including that shortie in Edmonton due, in part, to Kostitsyn’s much-mocked brain camp). “I know some guys are playing over their heads,” coach Barry Trotz told reporters after Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Columbus. “Some guys quite clearly can’t play at this level, that’s plain and simple. We’re going to sort that out and go from there. Some guys, I’m not happy with their game. They have to give us more. And I can go top to bottom. There’s some guys in that locker room who can give us a lot more, and that’s the part that bothers me.” By the way, LW Zach Boychuk, from Airdrie, has been thrown on waivers.

3. FLAMES’ OWN FINAL FOUR — Boston College (with Flames picks LW Johnny Gaudreau and C Bill Arnold) advanced to the Hockey East semifinal against Boston University. Unheralded Providence (with Flames picks G Jon Gillies and C Mark Jankowski) cruises into the other Hockey East semifinal to face UMass-Lowell. In last weekend’s best-of-three series over the University of New Hampshire, Gilles had been solid (2.34 GAA, .924), while Jankowski collected a goal and an assist in Game 3’s 3-2 win. (Fun fact: when Jankowski scores, Providence is 5-0-1. When he records a point, it’s 10-1-2.) If BC and Providence both win Friday, they meet Saturday at TD Garden.

Wednesday, Gaudreau was named Hockey East’s player of the year, while Gillies got the nod as conference’s top rookie.

4. REFEREES’ FAVOURITE TEAMS — The Flames, with 9.3 minutes per night, are tagged with the fewest penalties in the NHL. Second fewest? The Predators at 10.4. At the other end of the scale are the Toronto Maple Leafs at 15.4 minutes per game. The Flames and the Edmonton Oilers have been dinged with a league-low eight majors apiece. The Leafs, a whopping 31.

Life changes drastically Friday when the Flames visit the Columbus Blue Jackets, who, with 26 fights, are No. 2 in that department. RW Jared Boll’s nine tussles lead the NHL.

5. INS, OUTS, WHAT-HAVE-YOUS — Abbotsford G Leland Irving underwent minor eye surgery March 12 . . . OHL Windsor D Patrick Sieloff (groin) is in Calgary to see the Flames doctors. Sieloff is a second-round pick . . . Sportsclubstats.com has declared that the Flames have a 19.4 per cent chance of making the playoffs. Preds sit at 13.7 per cent. Edmonton Oilers are 19.8 . . . At 3.26, Calgary is No. 28 in goals-against average. Only Long Island and Florida are sloppier — in other words, no one in the Western Conference . . . Did you know? Philadelphia D Braydon Coburn leads the NHL in minor penalties, with 18, including seven for interference. Meanwhile, Ottawa RW Chris Neil has a stranglehold on roughing calls, with eight. The league’s leader in goalie-interference penalties — none other than Montreal LW Rene Bourque, with three.

 
 
 
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Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber, seen trying to block a shot by former teammate, Minnesota Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, in a recent game, for some reason doesn’t bring his toughest game against the Calgary Flames, averaging less than one hit a game against them in his career.
 

Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber, seen trying to block a shot by former teammate, Minnesota Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, in a recent game, for some reason doesn’t bring his toughest game against the Calgary Flames, averaging less than one hit a game against them in his career.

Photograph by: Mark Humphrey, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Who will be the NHL's worst?
 
Sabres, easily
Hurricanes
Some other team
Don't know, but would love for my team to get McDavid!