Fans that showed up at Bridgestone Arena tonight got to see a battle between Finnish goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Miikka Kiprusoff. ‘Kipper’ got the upper-hand of the duel in Calgary’s 1-0 shutout win in overtime over Nashville.
Just 2:10 into the contest, the Preds lost defenseman Ryan Suter to a lower-body injury when he was in a collision with Flames defenseman Cory Sarich right in front of Nashville’s bench. Suter had trouble getting to his feet and went straight to the locker room. He did not return.
That was the biggest news in what was otherwise a boring opening frame. Both teams had a handful of chances, but neither could beat the other’s goaltender. The teams were tied with 12 shots apiece after 20 minutes.
The second period was littered with penalties (three on Calgary; two on Nashville). The best scoring chance came when Martin Erat picked up a loose puck in front of the net, only to have his shot stopped on a sprawling pad save from Kiprusoff. The game was still scoreless after two.
By the time the third period started it was safe to say that one goal was going to be enough to win; neither team could get any flow or rhythm in the offensive zone.
The Predators had a golden opportunity late in regulation when Curtis Glencross was called for goalie interference. They couldn’t cash in on the man advantage, though, which went 0-for-5 on the night.
In the final minute, both teams had a rush to potentially win the game. Matt Stajan hit the post for Calgary, while the Preds had a late flurry.
For the second straight game, Nashville went to overtime. For the second straight game, Nashville lost in frustrating fashion.
Flames forward Rene Bourque banged home a loose puck in front, potting the overtime winner at the 2:10 of the extra frame, giving the Flames a 1-0 victory. It was their fifth straight win in Nashville.
Barry Trotz on Suter’s injury:
“Just a lower-body injury right now; we’ll probably have a better update tomorrow. (It’s) not too serious. He may miss a little bit of time here, but nothing major.”
Trotz on defense stepping up:
“Most of the guys did a really good job on the back end. There’s some heavy minutes crunched by some guys that got a lot more. Like Kevin (Klein) got a lot more… Shane O’Brien was about ten minutes more than he’s averaged. It’s a big adjustment when you go from playing 14 or 15 minutes a night to 25; it’s a huge adjustment, especially the way Calgary plays. They come at you hard. It’s quite taxing on you.”
Trotz on first five games:
“This team has a lot of character. This team has pretty good goaltending. The depth on defense is going to be looked at. I think we can play four lines… I thought Nick Spaling going in with Kostitsyn and Smithson was a pretty good line. Colin, J.P., and Marty was a pretty good line, and Marty’s just coming back and is a little rusty… and Colin’s a little rusty at center ice. We’re okay. We’re gonna have to pull together, we’ll have to be really detailed in these next few games if we’re going to have any kind of success.”
Rinne on facing countryman Kiprusoff:
“He’s one of the top guys in this league, obviously. It doesn’t matter who you play against, you just want to beat everybody. He’s my countryman and a great goalie.”
Joel Ward on last two losses:
“Anytime you don’t win it’s frustrating, in your own building too. You try to collect as many points as you can. So it’s pretty frustrating, for sure.”
Cal O’Reilly on Suter’s injury:
“He’s such a big part of our team, and losing him in the first was tough. I thought the d-men played great and stepped up and really played well with five ‘D’ back there.”
There really isn’t much to talk about after this one. It was a snooze-fest, as I’d like to call it. The goaltenders were sharp and obviously tough to beat. It’s a huge win for Calgary, but a tougher loss for Nashville, especially given Suter’s injury.
The Preds have to bounce back quickly as their four-game home-stand ends on Thursday against the uber-talented Penguins.