Predators 5, Flames 3

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE -- It's go time for Nashville if it wants to make the Western Conference playoffs.
The Predators took a first step in that direction Thursday night, opening a critical four-game homestand with a 5-3 win over Calgary at Bridgestone Arena.
Mike Fisher potted two goals, including the tie-breaker at 13:24 of the second period, as Nashville (12-13-6) snapped a four-game losing streak. Martin Erat, Nick Spaling and Brandon Yip also found the net's backside for the Predators, who entered the match 13th in the West after going 4-10-1 in their previous 15 outings.
Mark Giordano and Blake Comeau gave the Flames (11-13-4) a 2-1 first period edge with shorthanded goals, but they fell to 3-8-2 on the road and lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Giordano opened scoring when he whizzed a 44-foot slapper past Pekka Rinne at 5:01 of the first. Lee Stempniak drew the assist, dispossessing Roman Josi at the blue line and then slipping a nice pass to the onrushing Giordano.
Erat's deflection of Josi's slapper at 11:36 evened the score at 1, but Calgary regained the lead when Comeau made no mistake on Giordano's perfect setup at the goalmouth. That inspired scattered boos from Nashville's 26th straight sellout crowd of 17,113.
But Fisher evened the score at 2 when he pumped Erat's pass by Miikka Kiprusoff. The veteran goalie was hung to dry when defenseman Chris Butler gave the puck away to Erat behind the net.
Fisher then gave the Predators the lead for good when he camped out at the goalmouth and slammed in Josi's crossing pass. Exactly a minute later, Spaling deflected Victor Bartley's wrister by Kiprusoff for a 4-2 advantage.
Yip tacked on his third goal of the season at 15:54 of the third period, while Flames captain Jarome Iginla recorded his eighth goal of the year with a minute remaining.
NOTES: Four of Nashville's top 12 forwards entering the season didn't play Thursday night. Paul Gaustad, Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson are on injured reserve with upper-body injuries, while Craig Smith was scratched. Defensemen Hal Gill (lower-body injury) and Scott Hannan (upper-body injury) also sat out. ... Calgary left wing Alex Tanguay entered the night with the NHL's fourth-best shooting percentage, burying nine of 34 attempts for a 26.5 percent mark. ... Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played his 616th straight game, the longest current ironman streak in the league and sixth all-time. He's 14 away from tying Andy Hebenton for fifth. ... Predators defenseman Roman Josi's first period assist put him on the scoresheet for the fourth straight game, a career high.

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