Smith, Kiprusoff lead Flames past Predators, 1-0
CALGARY, Alberta—Defenseman Derek Smith scored his first NHL goal and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 26 shots for his first shutout of the season as the Calgary Flames beat the Nashville Predators 1-0 Tuesday night.
Smith scored the game's only goal with 1:10 left in the first period. Rookie defenseman T.J. Brodie skated in from the point and sent a perfect pass through the slot to Smith, who neatly steered the puck behind goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Kiprusoff's busiest stretch came with under five minutes remaining when Nashville managed five shots on a late power play. However, Kiprusoff stopped them all and got his 41st career shutout.
Calgary couldn't get anything past Rinne in the teams' last meeting, here on Oct. 22. The 6-foot-5 Rinne stopped all 33 shots he faced in Nashville's 2-0 victory. This time, his 28 saves weren't good enough.
The Flames have won consecutive games for only the second time this season, and next face last-place Columbus at home on Thursday night.
Nashville dropped to 1-3-0 on a five-game road trip which concludes Thursday at Vancouver.
Smith, 27, was signed by Calgary on July 13 as a free agent after four seasons in the Ottawa organization. He spent most of his time with Binghamton of the AHL, where he had 10 goals and a career-best 44 assists in 71 games last season.
While the 6-1 defenseman has shown glimpses of his offensive upside at the NHL level, he entered the night just two assists in 25 career NHL games -- including one in 16 this season.
At the time of the goal, Smith and Brodie -- with 40 career NHL games between them -- made up half of the Flames' defensemen with Scott Hannan and Jay Bouwmeester the other two.
The shortage on the blue line was the result of two defenders going down with injuries in separate incidents just minutes earlier.
Assistant captain Mark Giordano took a wrist shot from Matt Halischuk off the ankle and had to be helped off the ice. Then, Chris Butler had a Nashville shot deflect up sharply into his face, sending him immediately to the locker room.
Butler was back on the bench to start the second period but Giordano did not return due to a lower body injury.
Kiprusoff's best stop of the night came 5 minutes into the second period, when he slid across, jabbing out his right pad, to deny a dangerous chance off the stick of David Legwand, who was set up at the side of the net.
That save came immediately after a close call at the other end where Flames rookie center Roman Horak, looking for his first goal in 14 games, fired a shot that hit one goal post, caromed across the face of the net and squarely hit the other goal post, but stayed out.
There were only five minor penalties in the game. Nashville went 0 for 3 on the power play, while the Flames were 0 for 2 and fell to a league-worst 2 for 44 with the man advantage at home.
NOTES: Kiprusoff got his 296th career win, moving him into a tie for 30th all-time with former Flames goalie Dan Bouchard. ... Giordano has played in 187 consecutive games and is one of only three Flames (Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester) who played in all 82 games the past two years and all 23 games so far this season. ... When the Predators' five-game road trip wraps up Thursday, they return home for 14 of their next 19 games. Their next multi-game road trip isn't until a three-game trip from Jan. 16-19.