Calgary - January 2, 2012 - On a night that saw the Calgary Flames head into action on the backside of two consecutive losses, the Nashville Predators jumped on the ailing Flames to extend their losing ways to three games. A three goal performance from Nashville forward Sergei Kostistyn pushed the Predators to a 5-3 win on Sunday afternoon.
Whether it is the fatigue of playing three games in four nights or simply being worn down by the grueling travel of a season high seven game road trip, the Calgary Flames yet again struggled to produce a consistent sixty minute effort after opening the scoring in the early moments of the game. The captain recorded his 15th goal of the season and 499th of his career as he found an open lane in front of the Nashville net before taking an Olli Jokinen pass and firing in the first goal of the game just four minutes into the period.
Calgary continued to push as a few high grade scoring chances were created by Mikael Backlund and Rene Bourque, but unfortunately like he has done so often to the Flames in the past goaltender Pekka Rinne was their make the important momentum changing saves to keep the game within reach. After the initial downpour of opportunities by the Flames, Nashville began to find their stride as Kevin Klein somehow snuck a point shot through a maze of bodies that found its way past a screened Miikka Kiprusoff. Sergei Kostistyn capped off the first period with his sixth of the year and first of the night after beating Curtis Glencross to the far side post for an easy tap in goal.
A good shift by the Predators to start the second resulted in Matt Halischuk firing in the third goal of the game for Nashville after a solid cycle led to a defensive breakdown in the Flames end. Failing to calm the pace of the game down, TJ Brodie coughed the puck up in the neutral which produced a two on one opportunity for Kostistyn in which he yet again cashed in on as the Predators streak off four consecutive goals came to an end at the six minute mark of the second period. Had it not been for Miikka Kiprusoff between the pipes this game could of become completely out of hand as Nashville outshot the Flames by a 15-4 margin in the second frame alone.
Although Calgary did not really earn their way back into the game through hard work they did manage to score on the few chances they were able to create in the third period. With just seven shots to their credit in the final stanza both Rene Bourque and Brendan Morrison were able to hit the score sheet as the flames pulled to within one goal with two minutes remaining on the game clock. Calgary was unable to create a sustained attack in the offensive zone with the extra man on the ice and as a result Sergei Kostistyn dealt the final blow when he recorded his first career NHL hat trick.
As an avid fan of the Calgary Flames, I can honestly say that I never know what to expect from this team on a game to game basis. They have to be the most wildly inconsistent team in the entire league as in their last nineteen games this club has gone through the following win/loss streaks.
From November 27 to December 10 - 6-1-1 Record (Wins against MIN, NAS, EDM, CAR, COL, EDM)
From December 11 to December 19 - 0-2-2 Record (Losses against NAS, TBL, FLA, CHI)
From December 20 to December 27 - 4-0-0 Record (Wins against MIN, DET, VAN, CBJ)
From December 29 to January 1st - 0-2-1 Record (Losses against NYI, OTT, NAS)
Consistency will be what either makes or breaks this team’s chances at making the post season for the first time in three years. Calgary will now round out their road trip as they head off to Washington on Tuesday and Boston on Thursday.
GAME DAY NOTES
- Olli Jokinen played in his 1000th career NHL game.
- Brendan Morrison scored his 200th career NHL goal, and recorded his 600th NHL point on Friday against the Senators
- Jay Bouwmeester finished the night with a god awful -5; he was on the ice for every goal against.
- Derek Smith will miss 6-8 weeks with a high ankle sprain he suffered on Thursday.
- Clay Wilson has been recalled from Abbotsford of the AHL.