Forsberg, Predators defeat Flames for second win in past nine games
CALGARY — Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene each had a goal and an assist for the Nashville Predators in a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.
Roman Josi also scored, and Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves for the Predators (4-6-1), who lost seven of their previous eight games (1-6-1).
“It was good, it was good,” Forsberg said. “I thought we played the way we wanted to play. We played with poise with the puck, we were attacking the game and breaking out really well to start. I think that was lacking against [the Edmonton Oilers in a 7-4 loss Tuesday] and in a couple of the other games as well. It was a step in the right direction.”
Blake Coleman scored his first goal of the season, and Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves for the Flames (5-4-0), who have lost three straight and are 3-4-0 on a season-long eight-game homestand.
“It’s unacceptable, the whole thing,” Coleman said. “Regardless of what the games before, the outcomes were. It’s a home game, it’s a game we needed to win. It’s a game you want to have right from the get-go, and we didn’t have it. Unacceptable is the best way to describe it.”
Mark Jankowski put Nashville up 1-0 at 19:31 of the first period, scoring on a rebound after Markstrom kicked Michael McCarron‘s sharp-angled shot into the slot.
Jankowksi, who was originally selected by the Flames in the first round (No. 21) of the 2012 NHL Draft and played 208 games with Calgary, made his season debut after being recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League earlier Thursday.
“It’s funny how the world works like that,” Jankowski said. “There’s so many good memories here. This is where my career started. So many great memories. So many great friends I still have on the other side over there. It’s really special.”
Forsberg scored on a breakaway 59 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0, and Josi extended the lead to 3-0 at 2:27 with a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the point.
“I thought we started really well in the first period, played well, maybe should’ve had one more goal there,” Forsberg said. “But then came out early. We got two in a row there and kind of put ourselves in the driver’s seat there. I thought we kept pushing for that fourth one, which is key in this league. You can’t take a breath out there when a team is coming at you. I thought we did that well.”
Coleman cut it to 3-1 at 1:43 of the third period when he converted a quick pass from behind the net by Mikael Backlund.
Tyler Toffoli hit the crossbar from the bottom of the left face-off circle at 13:58, and Jonathan Huberdeau was stopped on the doorstep with 51 seconds remaining.
“Just got to find a way,” Coleman said. “Got to find a way to dig and find a way to bring your own joy and your own excitement. It was quiet. Slow start for us. Just didn’t really find it. Couple opportunities in the third but you can’t have those first two periods and expect to win.”
Duchene scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining for the 4-1 final.
“Obviously the win is important but at the same time, I think the way we played is almost more important,” Josi said. “We saw what works. We saw how we have to play to be successful. It was an overall way better game than last game and that’s the most important thing.”
NOTES: Josi has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past four games. …Forsberg has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past five games, and tied Martin Erat for third place on Nashville’s all-time points list (481). The forward was acquired from the Washington Capitals for Erat and Michael Latta on April 3, 2013. … Calgary defenseman Chris Tanev did not play because of an upper-body injury. Defenseman Connor Mackey, who played in his place, had one shot on goal, one hit and one blocked shot in 11:58 of ice time in his second game of the season.