Smith, Monahan lead Flames over Predators 3-0
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Smith and Calgary’s defenders were plenty busy in Smith’s 37th career shutout.
Smith made 43 saves and Sean Monahan scored twice to lead the Flames to a 3-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Elias Lindholm also scored and Johnny Gaudreau assisted on all three goals for Calgary, winners of two of three.
The loss was Nashville’s first after a pair of road wins to open the season.
Smith was stellar, especially in the second period when he turned aside 21 shots. Nashville had a two-man advantage for a full 2 minutes in the period.
“It was huge,” Smith said. “At that time of the game, to kill 2 minutes straight 5-on-3 says a lot about the character of our group. Our penalty killers did a tremendous job in front of me blocking shots and getting important clears.”
Smith’s best save came with 12:29 remaining in the second, when he gloved Ryan Hartman’s wrist shot from the left side at the conclusion of a 2-on-1 rush.
“I don’t think we took away his sight very well, maybe a couple of instances,” Hartman said. “I think we could have (done) a better job of being in front of him, make it a little harder for him. ... He had a great night.”
Lindholm scored the game’s first goal with just under four minutes remaining in the opening period.
With Calgary on a power play, Gaudreau carried the puck through the slot and found Lindholm on the right side, where he beat Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot on the glove side for his third goal of the season.
“We started on time. ... I liked our first period,” Flames coach Bill Peters said. “Obviously for me, the 3-vs.-5 penalty kill for the full 2 minutes, that was huge. It was 2-0 at the time. We were plus-2 on the specialty teams, so credit both the power play and the penalty kill.”
Rinne finished with 24 saves.
“I think you have to give their goalie some credit,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “He played a really good game. I don’t think the chances were as good in the first period as they were in the second and third periods. It seemed like we fired more pucks and made it a little more difficult in the later periods.”
The Flames doubled their lead at 5:22 of the second on a power-play goal from Monahan.
Rinne kicked aside Matthew Tkachuk’s shot from the high slot, but the rebound landed right on the tape of Monahan’s stick on the left side, where he had an easy tap-in.
Early in the third, Monahan carried the puck into the Nashville zone on the left side on a 2-on-1 with Mattias Ekholm defending. With Ekholm splayed on the ice, Monahan’s shot hit the Swedish defenseman’s left skate and slid between Rinne’s pads.
“When you play with the players I play with, it makes it easy,” said Monahan, who leads the Flames with four goals. “When you get looks I get, obviously it’s pretty lucky.”
NOTES: Before the game, Nashville raised three banners, honoring last regular season’s Central Division title, Western Conference regular-season championship and Presidents’ Trophy. ... Gaudreau, Monahan and Tkachuk have all recorded at least one point in each of Calgary’s three games this season. ... Gaudreau has 18 points in 13 career games against Nashville.
Flames: At St. Louis on Thursday night.
Predators: Host Winnipeg on Thursday night.