The Calgary Flames have played very well at the Pengrowth Saddledome. So have the Nashville Predators lately.
After a strong opening to a three-game homestand, the Flames look to avoid a fourth straight home loss to the first-place Predators when the clubs meet Saturday.
Calgary (3-4-1), in last place in the Northwest Division, ended a three-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.
“We’ve still got lots of things to work on, but we took a step in the right direction,” Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr said after the opener of the homestand, which ends Monday against Washington.
Calgary is 2-1-0 at the Saddledome after going 30-7-4 there last season, when it was among the league’s best teams at home.
Nashville (5-3-1), though, was one of two visiting teams to win two games at Calgary last season. The other was Vancouver, but it played there four times while the Predators visited only twice.
The Predators have won five straight overall against the Flames and three in a row at the Saddledome since Jan. 22, 2004. Nashville outscored Calgary 18-9 in sweeping last season’s four meetings.
Nashville is 5-0-1 since dropping three straight to open this season, moving atop the Central Division.
The Predators beat San Jose 4-3 on Thursday in the first game between the teams since the Sharks ousted Nashville in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Now Nashville heads on a four-game road trip that will wind through western Canada before wrapping up in Minnesota a week from Saturday. After Friday’s victory, a number of Predators emphasized the importance of winning Thursday’s game before starting the trip.
“We’re on a roll here,” said Nashville right wing Scott Hartnell, who had the game-winning goal against the Sharks. “We’re feeling good. We’ve just got to take this show on the road.”
Hartnell had two goals Thursday to give him a team-leading five for the season.
“He’s great around the net,” Predators center Jason Arnott said. “He’s got sweet hands around the net.”
Nashville right wing Steve Sullivan, who has three goals and four assists in six games, missed Thursday’s game with back spasms. His status for Saturday is uncertain.
The Flames, meanwhile, hope to continue getting their special teams on track. They scored three times on the power play and once short-handed against the Coyotes.
“Especially for a power play that’s been struggling, it’s huge,” Flames right wing Tony Amonte said.
Calgary has converted only 11.1 percent (6-for-54) of its opportunities with the man advantage.
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 26 shots on Thursday to improve to 3-4-1. He started last season 2-4-1 before backstopping the Flames to a 3-1 win over Edmonton, starting a personal eight-game win streak. Kiprusoff would finish the season with a 42-10-11 record and 2.07 goals-against average, winning the Vezina Trophy.
Courtesy of NHL.com