Predators Get First Tally For the First Time in 8 Games

Nashville scored first for the first time since November 23rd in their 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators scored first on their way to a 2-1 win over Calgary at Bridgestone Arena. (Sarah Fuqua)

Coming into Tuesday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, the Nashville Predators had given up the first goal in 8 straight games. The last time they had tallied the first goal was on November 23rd at Minnesota.

At 11:43 of the first period, Roman Josi took a puck away from a Flames player, passed it to Brian McGrattan on the far wall who attempted to make a long-range backhand shot. Matt Halischuk redirected the puck into the net and for the first time in almost four weeks, the Nashville Predators had a 1-0 lead.

“I tried to shadow him a little bit,” Josi said. “He tried to take it to the net and I blocked it and took the puck.”

“I just skated it into the zone and tried to get it to the net, but couldn’t get it there. Good thing (McGrattan) was there – he pretty much one-timed it and (Halischuk) was going hard and scored.”

It had been a month since Nashville had been on the board first, which meant that the team would be protecting the lead – a strategy that had not come into play in quite some time. However, Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said that he always preferred protecting a lead to chasing one.

“Scoring first is easier in this league,” Trotz said. “If you look at it, if you don’t score first, you need two to win and if they get the next one that valley gets deeper and deeper. Getting a good start is always key for any club, it doesn’t matter if it’s our club or any other club in the league. Teams can defend. Goaltenders are by far the best they’ve ever been in the history of the game. It makes it a difficult task unless you get some good luck and good execution.”

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne agreed with Trotz’s sentiments. The Predators not only took the lead in the first period, they held it through the first intermission and held the Flames to a mere 6 shots in the first.

“It’s a relieving feeling,” Rinne said. “When we score first, mentally it’s big, especially if you come out after the first period on top. I always feel like it’s a huge advantage. After the first period you can take a deep breath and regroup in the locker room and get ready for the second period. It’s always a good thing.”

Nashville put up 18 shots on the Flames in the first period, with Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff saving all but one.

“I think we had a good start tonight,” Josi said. “We got on them pretty hot in the first period. We had a lot of shots and a lot of chances. We could have probably scored more than one goal, but it’s always easier to play with the lead. We’re much more comfortable with that.”

Tuesday was the 15th time this season that the Predators scored first in the first 30 games of the year. The team now holds a 10-2-3 record when getting on the board first.

“It’s always hard to score goals against a team like that and you don’t want to give them the lead,” Calgary forward Alex Tanguay said. “We did that in the first period.”

PuckScene.com Three Stars of the Game
  1. Colin Wilson – Nashville Predators
  2. Miikka Kiprusoff – Calgary Flames
  3. Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators

Official Three Stars of the Game
  1. Colin Wilson – Nashville Predators
  2. Miikka Kiprusoff – Calgary Flames
  3. Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.