Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Preds
Five key elements from the Flames-Preds tilt
TAKEAWAY ONE: Props to the PP
After falling behind by a goal early in the game, the Flames were given a power play thanks to Jonathan Blum tripping up Curtis Glencross in the neutral zone.
The NHL's fourth best power play at home was an essential key in the Flames win against Columbus on Friday and it once again came up big for the team against the Predators.
Mark Giordano took a pass from Olli Jokinen and carried the puck quickly into the slot. A crowd had gathered around Rinne and the blueliner opted to wire a shot through traffic. The puck bounced off Shea Weber's stick, Ryan Suter's body and over top of Rinne to make it a 1-1 game.
TAKEAWAY TWO: Historic goal
Less than a minute into the second period, Jarome Iginla got loose on a breakaway and went steaming towards the net trying to even the score. He didn't manage to on that particular attempt as Sergei Kostitsyn hauled him down before he was able to get a shot off but since the infraction impeded a direct scoring opportunity, the captain was awarded a penalty shot.
Iginla swooped to the side of the net as he closed in on Rinne, getting the netminder to shift his position in case the captain tried to go top shelf. Iginla saw the movement and deftly slid it five hole for the equalizer.
With the goal, Iginla becomes just the 10th player in NHL history to record 30+ goals in 10 consecutive seasons. Wayne Gretzky, Mats Sundin, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Gartner, Marcel Dionne, Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito are the only other players to achieve such a feat.
TAKEAWAY THREE: Steady defence
The defensive pairing of Anton Babchuk and Steve Staios had one of their best outings of the season on Sunday evening. They played well in their own end, made several good outlet passes and even jumped into the play a couple times when the Flames had control in the Predators zone.
In one sequence, the Preds came into the Flames zone on a three-on-two. Neither Staios or Babchuk panicked, playing the situation perfectly. Babchuk hit the ice, effectively blocking both a shot or a pass, while Staios played the man with puck, knocking him hard to the ice. The puck rolled into the corner and was quickly cleared from the zone.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: Constant rotation
With Mikael Backlund feeling well enough to play, the Flames had to shift their lines yet again. David Moss was moved up to center the first line, with Alex Tanguay and Iginla on the wings, while Rene Bourque was shifted down to the second line with Glencross and Jokinen.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: Playoff picture
As of Sunday night, the Flames are in fifth in the Western Conference with 79 points.
Minnesota was able to gain a point, losing in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres, so they've moved ninth place with 75 points. The Canucks did the Flames a favour by handing the Anaheim Ducks a loss, keeping the California boys in 10th with 75 points.
Calgary's next two games are against teams directly below them in the standings. The Dallas Stars sit at seventh with 77 points while the Phoenix Coyotes are holding onto sixth with 78 points.