Flames Game Day

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

COMING IN

With a 5-2 win over Buffalo Wednesday, the Flames claimed a second straight victory and have won seven of their last 10 to extend their lead on the rest of the Northwest Division to 11 points.

Nashville snapped a three-game losing skid by dropping Vancouver 5-3 on Wednesday, in which the visiting club trailed 3-1 before storming back. The Preds are clinging to their playoff hopes, having won only four of their last 13 outings.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Calgary has an all-time record of 16-18-4-2 against the Preds, but the Flames are going for a season sweep. Calgary won the first three meetings this season, including a 3-2 clash earlier this month in Music City, U.S.A.

Calgary has a 3-0-1 mark in the last four games at the Saddledome.

SPECIAL TEAMS

POWERPLAY -- Calgary 19.7% (43-218, 13th); Nashville 14.7% (29-197, 28th).

PENALTY KILLING -- Calgary 85.6% (T-3rd); Nashville 83.9% (6th).

THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH

1. Can Cammalleri keep going?: The Flames left winger is on an absolute tear. Thanks to his hat-trick performance against Buffalo, he's on a four-game goal-scoring streak in which he's tallied eight times. Cammalleri is also on a seven-game points roll, with 11 goals and two assists in that span, which has him sitting at 25 goals on the season, sixth most in the NHL.

2. Rinne raring for redemption: Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne has faced the Flames once in his young career, and it didn't go well at all. He was torched for four goals in a single period of action earlier this year before being given the hook. However, since that early November meeting at the Saddledome, he's supplanted Dan Ellis as the Preds No.-1 goalie.

3. Tootoo too much: Nobody can drive the Flames to distraction like the Predators super-pest. Not Steve Ott. Not Jarkko Ruutu. Not Matt Cooke. Tootoo has raised the ire of several of Calgary's best players over the years, especially Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr, often to effective results, by his rambunctious play -- which does cross the line at times.

PLAYERS TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON ...

FLAMES

D Dion Phaneuf. Could it be the pre-season Norris Trophy candidate has finally put his game in order? Certainly, he's been much better the past few outings, but he's coming off possibly his best game of the season. Phaneuf not only scored against the Sabres, but registered five shots on goal and dished out a team-high three hits (how the Flames and Sabres both only registered six as a team is a mystery).

PREDATORS

D Shea Weber. While Phaneuf has fallen from the Norris Trophy talk, he's been replaced by the fourth-year pro drafted in the second round of the 2003 affair. Weber has become an impact player with both his size -- 6-foot-4, 230-lb. -- and skill. He and Zdeno Chara are the only defencemen in the league with 30 points and 100 hits. In 11 career games against the Flames, Weber has four goals and four assists.

IT'S WORTH NOTING ...

Calgary is looking to win eight games in a calendar month for the third month in a row. The difference being tonight's clash is only the 11th outing in January. It took them 13 games to reach that feat in December and 14 in November. It's a feat the club has done only once since the Stanley Cup-winning 1988-89 season, attained November through January in 2006-07 ... For those not keeping track, Flames RW Jarome Iginla is now five points back of Al MacInnis for second spot on the franchise's all-time points list. Iginla is at 817, while MacInnis put up 822 as a Flame. Theoren Fleury is the all-time leader with 830 ... Facing Northwest Division teams hasn't been a fun experience this season for the Preds. They're a paltry 4-11 against the five clubs ... Nashville captain Jason Arnott has one goal and five assists in his last five games. His goal against the Canucks was the 800th point of his career ... When Nashville forward Steve Sullivan returned from a back injury Jan. 10 against Chicago, it had been 687 days between NHL games for him. He missed 142 straight regular-season games and 11 playoff clashes in that stretch. The only other players in the post-Second World War era to return to action after not playing for 600 days are Flames forward Jim Peplinski and Pittsburgh star Mario Lemieux. In six games since returning, Sullivan has collected a pair of assists ... Nashville's powerplay has struggled this season, but picked it up in a big way of late. The Preds scored three times on seven chances against Vancouver. Over their last eight games, they have a 24.2% success rate, 8-for-33 ... Their penalty kill has been very good, too. They've allowed just five powerplay goals in the last 19 games, and killed off 62 of 67 opportunities (92.5%). On Dec. 11, Nashville's PK was 20th in the league. Since then, they've moved up 14 places. Such efficiency shouldn't be a big surprise. Nashville has been in the top five in the last three seasons.


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