NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Martin Erat scored the only goal of the shootout to lead the Nashville Predators to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne turned aside all three Flyers attempts in the shootout. Rinne finished with 42 saves.
The Predators carried a two-goal lead into the final period, but goals by Gagne and Pronger 3:04 apart tied the game late in the third.
Carter opened the scoring at 1:21 of the opening period with a wrist shot from the low slot that beat Rinne high to the glove side. It was Carter's 33rd goal of the season.
Sullivan tied it just over three minutes later when he tapped in a puck just underneath the pad of Philadelphia goaltender Michael Leighton.
Erat gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at 7:04 of the first. Dan Hamhuis kept the puck in at the blue line and passed to Jason Arnott on top of the left circle. Arnott sent a backhand pass to Erat, and he beat Leighton with a wrist shot over the glove for his 20th goal of the season.
Arnott has assists in his past three games and points in five of his past six.
Leighton left the game just under three minutes after the Erat goal with a high ankle sprain. He was replaced by Brian Boucher at 9:45.
The Predators put immediate pressure on the new Flyers goalie, scoring a goal just 20 seconds after he entered the game.
Boucher stopped Joel Ward's shot from the right faceoff dot, but Smithson was parked just outside the crease and backhanded the rebound in for his ninth goal of the season.
Gagne got the Flyers within a goal at 11:14 of the third. Pronger's goal came on a wrist shot from the low slot with the Flyers on a power play.
Notes: The Flyers last played in Nashville on Dec. 3, 2005. ... Leighton started his 15th consecutive game Tuesday. ... Flyers RW Danny Briere had two assists in the game. He has three points in his past two games.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On tonight’s momentum in Philadelphia’s favor early…
We’ve played a lot of games, had a lot of travel. There wasn’t a lot of juice on our bench today. Guys were trying, but there wasn’t a lot of pop.
I knew it was going to be a tough game coming in, coming off that road trip. Emotionally, I don’t want to say exhausting, but it was challenging. Today was a big challenge against a team that is obviously playing with some desperation.
I thought we turned the puck over way too much. We just weren’t really firm on the puck in the first period. In the second period we were a little better, we had some chances. In the third period I thought we were fine until about 8 minutes to go and there was a non-call and their guy came back and scored. We were in a little bit of a scramble mode.
On a balanced attack…
We were getting contributions from everybody. If you look through the lineup, for the most part the forwards have evened out the ice time. With so many games, 13 games in 21 nights, you’re going to need everybody. Guys aren’t going to be able to play 21 minutes up front. Tonight, Boyd-Tootoo-Dumont probably had as many chances as anybody tonight.
On maintaining composure…
Sometimes players will look at me, and I’m not screaming and yelling and losing control. If I do that, they do that. You’ve got to focus on the moment. Hopefully if there’s a mistake that was made on the ice, be it our mistake, their mistake, or a referee mistake, you’ve got to fight through that. On the second goal, we didn’t get the call and they go down and score. [On the third goal] Legwand, I thought, drew the penalty and we didn’t get the call, and they score on that power play.
Forward Jerred Smithson
On Philadelphia’s comeback...
Things didn’t go our way there for a little while, but we stayed strong. It was a little frustrating with the lack of calls, but they said they didn’t see them and we have to go with that. We showed good character and stayed with it. We were able to get two points and that’s all that matters right now.
On productivity of the lines...
I think keeping everyone fresh and new [helps], but I think everyone is stepping up. This time of year you have to have everyone contribute. Other teams are going to do their best to shut down our top scorers and take a lot more shots. It’s a lot of fun playing right now and we’re in a good position, so we’re just enjoying it.
On goaltender Pekka Rinne...
He’s playing well and he’s confident in there. He’s a big body, he works hard and he deserves to be getting the credit he’s receiving right now. With him and Ellie [Dan Ellis], we’re behind both 100%. We have two great goalies.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On final shot of shootout...
I think he was trying to get me moving to the other side, but I read it and adjusted right away.
I think it’s easier to trust your instincts and don’t guess too much. You just have to go with the flow.
On getting two points...
You look at the standings and there are many teams within five points. It’s still our goal to catch up and we know if we keep going like this, we can do well. Those two points are really important.
On getting the win...
It felt good. I felt like I was seeing the puck really well. They shot the puck a lot and that gets you into the game. The game kind of gets easier and slows down in front of you. I like that feeling.