The Predators trimmed their deficit in the Western Conference wild-card race, now trailing the Flames by one point. Nashville also kept pace with St. Louis, which won Thursday to maintain the teams’ tie for third place in the Central Division at 85 points.
Wild West: With Western Conference playoff seeding far from decided, Thursday’s game between the West’s two wild-card teams held significance. Combining for 18 goals in their first two meetings, the Predators and Flames waited until the second period to arrive offensively, with Nashville holding a 2-1 lead at the conclusion on goals from forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Colton Sissons. The Predators endured a nearly 15-minute stretch without a shot following Sissons’ goal and finished with a season-low 17, but outlasted the Flames for an important victory.
Riding Rinne: The play of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne on Thursday was pivotal. With his teammates struggling to generate consistent offense and the Flames receiving five power plays, Rinne made 24 saves, allowing one goal for the third consecutive start. In those three starts, he has a 0.99 goals-against average and .959 save percentage.
Fisher out: Predators captain Mike Fisher didn’t play and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, according to the team. Fisher, who didn’t complete Nashville’s win against Arizona on Monday and didn’t practice Tuesday or Wednesday, missed his fifth game this season and first since Nov, 8. Sissons, playing in his 100th NHL game, centered forwards Colin Wilson and Craig Smith in Fisher’s place. Center Vernon Fiddler played for the first time since March 7, rejoining the fourth line.
Up next: The Predators wrap up their homestand Saturday against the San Jose Sharks. The two teams haven’t played at Bridgestone Arena this season, splitting the first two games at SAP Center.
Pete Weber’s Post Game Report