Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Predators
Notes from the Flames pre-game skate at Bridgestone Arenaa
STAYING THE SAME
Head coach Bob Hartley has confirmed that the Flames will ice the same lineup they used in North Carolina tonight in Nashville. Karri Ramo, who is coming off his first NHL shutout, gets the start in net.
Ramo is 8-8-3 this season with a 2.73 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
Derek Smith is expected to be the only healthy scratch tonight.
KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
On Monday night, after the Flames 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Hartley mused that the victory was perhaps the best game the team has played this season and he reiterated that once again this morning.
"We had a power play goal. We didn't give any on the PK. Five-on-five, I felt that in the three zones we were very, very good. We got our first shutout so it's pretty tough to ask for anything more.
"Yesterday, we had the commitment, we had the discipline, we had the execution and we had the goaltending. When every department is playing well, suddenly, you're a tough team to beat."
Now, the challenge is taking the momentum the Flames gained from that win over the Hurricanes and moving forward with it. In Lee Stempniak's mind, the key to doing that is replicating their first period in Raleigh.
"We came out and had a really strong start," the winger told CalgaryFlames.com. "We skated really well and that's what we want to try to carry over. Also, if we can get 14 shots, that's great. We really generated a lot of shots last game in the first period.
"A big thing for us is that we were skating. We did a really good job of moving our feet."
BACK ON THE UPSWING
Most rookies go through up and down periods during their first season in the NHL and Sean Monahan is no exception. He has struggled during parts of the 2013-14 season, particularly after he came back from a hairline foot fracture, but the 19-year-old looks like he's getting back into the rhythm.
He scored the Flames second goal on Monday night and has put eight shots on net in his last three games. Hartley believes the upswing in Monahan's play is a direct result of him feeling more comfortable, post-injury.
"I think it's his skating and I think it's a direct [relation] with his foot injury," Hartley noted. "He's a young player. He's going to still have his ups and his downs. But we saw last night, he doesn't need many chances to score goals. He knows how to score goals.
"He's very opportunistic. He knows how to open himself up to score goals. You can teach part of this but another part, it's a natural gift. It's natural instinct."
THE OTHER SIDE: HUTTON GETS THE NOD
The Preds will go with Carter Hutton in net tonight. The 28-year-old has played 21 games in his NHL career and is 7-7-2 this season. He has a 3.01 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
"They check really well. They have a hard-working team. They have a lot of structure. One thing you can say about the Flames, they're not going to ease their way into a game. They work hard." - Predators head coach Barry Trotz on the Flames
VERSUS THE PREDS
All-time vs. the Preds: 25-25-4-2-0
All-time vs. the Preds in Nashville: 11-17-1-0-0
Last 10 games vs. the Preds: 5-5-0-0
Last 10 games vs. the Preds in Nashville: 6-4-0-0
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
TJ Galiardi needs 5 points for 100.
Jiri Hudler needs 3 games for 500.
Derek Smith needs 6 games for 100.
Tonight's Music City match-up will be broadcast on Sportsnet-West (television) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio) at 6:00 PM MST.