It was not exactly a case of "he shoots, he scores."
It was more like, "he shoots and shoots and shoots and shoots and shoots a few more times before he manages to score."
The Nashville Predators set or matched season-highs for shots in a period, shots in a game and combined shots for both teams yet did not even reach their season average for goals scored in a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Regardless, the triumph was their third straight — also a season-high.
“We were trying to get pucks to the net, bodies to the net,” left wing Colin Wilson said. “That’s how we got our two goals. They were two greasy goals. They weren’t big plays or anything like that.
“So that’s exactly what we were trying to do.”
The reason for that approach was Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. He had allowed two goals in two previous meetings this season the last of which was a 1-0 Calgary victory on Nov. 29.
The Predators had a combined 40 shots in those two contests. This time, they had 18 at the end of the first period, which matched their high-water mark for any period in the current campaign. They ripped off 17 more in the second and the 35 total — with 20 minutes to play — was as many as they had in any entire game.
Despite all of that, it was 1-1 until Wilson scored on the power play 3:31 into the final period. He knocked home the rebound of a shot by Craig Smith, whose team-high seven shots equaled the most by a Nashville player so far this season.
“Kiprusoff is such a good goalie, you want to put a lot of pucks toward the net and you want to create some chances,” coach Barry Trotz said. “… You have to put lots of pucks at him, you have to have some net presence and you have to convert. We had some great chances in the first, and we didn’t convert. We could have pulled away early on them, and we didn’t.”
The final shot tally was 45-35 in Nashville’s favor. The combined total (80) exceeded by seven the Predators’ previous high set Nov. 5 in an overtime loss at San Jose.
Pekka Rinne, who had allowed one goal on 62 shots in the two earlier meetings with the Flames, made more saves this time than in either of those contests.
Calgary matched the Predators with 17 shots in the second period and had a 13-10 edge in the third, thanks to six shots in the final 1:35 — after Kiprusoff was pulled for an extra attacker.
“They had six guys on the ice and we kept them outside and blocked a few shots, but we couldn’t get the puck out of the zone,” Rinne said. “They did a really good job there. It was a little bit hectic, but I think it was still under control.”
Matt Halischuk put Nashville on top with a rebound chance at 11:43 of the opening period. Calgary evened it with Curtis Glencross’ goal at 6:12 of the second.
Every Nashville skater except tough guy Brian McGrattan had at least one shot on goal. Seven had three or more.
Wilson had only two — the one on which he scored and a backhand chance with 5:26 remaining. The latter ended up in Kiprusoff’s glove and left Wilson muttering and barely resisting the urge to snap his stick against the boards.
“I wanted to score that goal,” Wilson said. “If you make a move like that I really want to score, but at the same time if I would have scored that one we really would have put them in a tough spot. So it got a little frustrating.”