Vokoun tames Flames

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- There are eight distinguished men who make up the Calgary Flames ownership.

But there's no doubt who owns the Flames.

Nashville Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun has started to put together a stellar career, aided in big part by his personal dominance of the Flaming C.

With last night's 5-3 victory added to his resume, Vokoun improved his all-time record against Calgary to an amazing 11-3-3.

That stellar .735 winning percentage is the Czech netminder's best against any other Western Conference rival.

So what's his secret?

"I don't really know. With some teams, it's just the way it is in hockey," he said. "We have an awful record against Dallas but for some reason we've been pretty successful against Calgary.

"I think every game is different but there might be something to it. I don't know the exact reason."

He won't complain, that's for certain.

"No, I won't, believe me," he said with a smile. "They're a good team and it's nice to beat them."

Vokoun's career performance against Calgary is no fluke. His goals-against average is below 2.00 versus the Flames.

But it's hard to imagine Vokoun has some magic potion or finds an extra save in him just because it's Calgary he's up against, even if he's had a few celebrated extracurricular developments, notably a couple of run-ins with Jarome Iginla and fights with both current Flames netminders Jamie McLennan and Miikka Kiprusoff.

"I think it's just one of the bizarre things," said Predators forward Jerred Smithson. "I don't know if it's him or all of us knowing Calgary's gonna bring their 'A' game against us and we come out hard.

"But he battles and is competitive."

Currently, Vokoun's playing with a cast on the thumb of his blocker hand, the after-effects of a surgery for torn ligaments and a small fracture.

A third straight win after missing 21 games is even more prevalent on his mind.

"It's great to get a win, especially against a team that's been hot lately," he said. "For me, it's another step of building for getting to the top of my game. I don't feel that way yet but you come to the rink with one objective and that's two points."

Which, when Vokoun is up against the Flames, is almost a sure thing.

And it's not like the Flames would catch a break if backup goalie Chris Mason was between the pipes. He won 14 of those 21 Predators victories and collected three shutouts.

"I've never seen anything like it," Smithson said.

"He stepped in and, all of a sudden, he's one of the hottest goalies in the league."

ROSTER RUCKUS:

The only penalty was embarrassment but Nashville head coach Barry Trotz took the blame for his team's roster mix-up.

The Predators handed in a roster sheet that listed rookie forward Alexander Radulov as a healthy scratch but Trotz gave Vernon Fiddler the night off instead.

The Flames noticed Radulov, an ineligible player, dressed on the bench and reported it to officials, who sent him to the showers.

"That's just totally my fault," Trotz said. "We had two different lineups. I usually have a very good routine ... we had a little incident in our room that sort of threw me off the routine.

"That's my bad."

Fiddler quickly dressed and joined the action and collected an assist on Ryan Suter's third-period go-ahead goal.


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