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Predators top Flames
Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Ellis and Craig Smith each scored within the first 2:40 of the third period to propel the Nashville Predators to a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames at Bridgestone Arena.
Ellis helped set up Viktor Stalberg's goal later in the final period, while David Legwand finished with three assists to help the Predators halt a three- game losing streak. Shea Weber added a power-play tally for Nashville, with Carter Hutton coming up with 22 saves in the victory.
"Good effort by everybody," Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. "Give Calgary some credit, they hung around. They're a hard kill, but the third period, obviously we got those quick goals and the puck started finding the back of the net."
The loss was the eighth in 10 games for the struggling Flames, who have mustered only 10 goals over that stretch.
Lee Stempniak and Mikael Backlund both scored in defeat, with Jiri Hudler assisting on both Calgary goals and Karri Ramo recording 30 saves.
The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 following a scoreless second period, but the Predators needed just 55 seconds to break the stalemate in the third. Ellis skated into the Calgary zone on a rush up the ice, then launched a hard shot that Ramo wasn't able to corral.
Calgary's Paul Byron then committed a tripping penalty only 22 seconds after the score, and Nashville capitalized on the resulting power play. Seth Jones sent a long wrister that Ramo stopped but couldn't clear, and Smith fired the loose puck into an opening for a 3-1 lead.
The Flames nearly cut the deficit in half on a power play of their own moments later, but Mark Giordano's goal was waved off after officials ruled his stick was above the crossbar.
Calgary found itself in a three-goal hole shortly afterward, as Ellis delivered a quick one-timer that a screening Stalberg successfully redirected with 9:08 left to play.
Backlund cut the margin to 4-2 by fighting off a defender and beating Hutton to the stick side with a forehand attempt in close with 6:53 to go. However, the Flames managed just two more shots the rest of the way.
"We weren't ready coming into the third period," Backlund admitted.
An interference penalty to Calgary's Matt Stajan enabled the Predators to open the scoring late in the first period, with Weber rocketing a one-timer from the left point into the top right corner of the net with 4:08 remaining in the stanza.
Calgary answered just over three minutes later when Hudler skated around the Nashville net and slid a pass that Stempniak deposited into an open right side from the slot.
The Predators went 2-for-4 on the power play after going 0-for-8 in such situations over their previous four games ... Backlund has now scored in three consecutive games ... Smith's goal was his team-leading 14th of the season and eighth in his last 14 outings ... Calgary has now lost four straight in the Music City since a 3-2 shootout win on Feb. 2, 2011 ... Flames forward Michael Cammalleri sat out for a second straight night with a concussion.
01/15 00:01:54 ET
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