SUN Hockey Pool

Same tune in Music City

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- Some reruns you don't mind seeing time and time again.

You know, like the flying turkeys episode of WKRP in Cincinnati or Seinfeld's The Contest ('Are you master of your domain?').

Others? Well, they're just like sitting through Three's Company, no matter the episode, over and over.

For the Calgary Flames, last night's 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators falls into the latter category.

In fact, it may be even more grating.

It's the seventh time in a row the Flames have been dumped by the Preds, a scene they've grown tired of.

"It's very frustrating," said defenceman Rhett Warrener. "I thought the first period was close enough and we played well enough to win that period but, after that, they kept their work boots on and we took ours off.

"That was the difference."

It's been nearly three years since the Flames last beat the Preds, a 4-0 win at the Saddledome Jan. 22, 2004. You have to go back to December 2002 for their last victory at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, a drought during which they've garnered a single tie in six matches.

Seems the Central Division leaders enjoy putting those same boots to the Flames, especially early in the third period when they broke open a 2-2 deadlock with goals from Ryan Suter and David Legwand 80 seconds apart.

"We want to get a lead on a team like that when they're missing Jarome Iginla and a couple of other guys," said Legwand. "I think that's a big thing when you get a lead on them and make them play from behind. They've got to open it up a little."

Actually, that's what put the Flames behind in the first place and added to their problems.

Suter's goal came off an odd-man rush, his long slapper bouncing in off Robyn Regehr's leg.

Legwand's game winner was aided because Dion Phaneuf was caught up ice, leading to a break.

"It's 2-2 going into the third period," lamented head coach Jim Playfair, "and it's a game we've got to play really responsible hockey but we make two bad pinches and they scored two more goals off the rush. That's the hockey game."

Kristian Huselius, with his second of the game, brought the visitors within a goal in the final minutes and Stephane Yelle rang a rebound chance off the post before Scott Hartnell iced it with an empty netter.

Warrener pinned the defensive breakdowns on deviating from the plan.

"They stuck to a game plan they trust and we got watching how they played and started thinking that's how we should play," he said. "Instead of working and chipping it in the zone and going after it like they were, we were hoping for the stretch play and turning it over. When you turn over the puck, with that much speed and that much talent, they'll make you pay."

But you can't deny the Preds received, or made, some huge breaks. Suter's go-ahead goal wasn't the only one to beat Miikka Kiprusoff after a bounce.

"Yeah but I don't think we played that well as a team," said Kiprusoff, who made 29 saves.

"You can say it was bad luck -- a shot off a stick or a knee or whatever -- but I don't think any of us played that well."

A sentiment repeated more than once in the room.

"They're like a machine, just rolling line after line and it doesn't seem like they take their foot off," said winger Jeff Friesen. "You're gonna get chances in this game, and we got some, but we didn't force them into getting off their game."

Daymond Langkow netted the other goal for Calgary. Martin Erat and Jason Arnott scored for the Preds.


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