The Predators scored three times in a 2:28 span of the second period to take a 3-0 lead, but the Flames scored once late in the second period and four times in the third period – including an empty net score with 2.5 seconds remaining – to edge Nashville 5-3 at Sommet Center on Thursday night.
Nashville was in control of the game most of the way through, out-shooting Calgary 14-4 in the first period and 38-27 for the game, but finshed just one-for-nine on the power-play – with 3:21 of five-on-three action – while the Flames netted their game-winning goal on a mid-third period power-play.
The Predators started strong drawing a double-minor 5:09 into the game. Nashville created three quality scoring opportunities early in the first penalty, Shea Weber from the point, J.P. Dumont from the slot, and Jason Arnott from the bottom of the left wing faceoff circle. Arnott was tripped on his attempt, giving the Preds a full 2:00 five-on-three advantage, which was nearly converted in the opening seconds when Weber’s blast from the center of the blueline created a big rebound, but Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff made a diving block with his glove hand on Martin Erat’s attempt into the vacated net. At the end of the double-minor power-play, David Legwand created another quality chance through a screen, but was unable to sneak the shot past Kiprusoff.
Later in the period Erat hit the post on a two-on-one shorthanded rush with Legwand and then Legwand beat Kiprusoff from the right wing, but had the puck ring off the inside of the far post, keeping the game scoreless through the first period.
Nashville broke through 5:42 into the second period on Greg Zanon’s first goal in almost 20 months. The Preds then added goals by Jordin Tootoo and Arnott in the next 2:28 to grab a 3-0 lead.
The chances were created on three consecutive shifts. Starting with Rich Peverley on the first goal, carrying the puck from high in the offensive zone down toward the net before sliding a pass to Arnott in the left slot. Arnott was unable to snap a quick shot, but held the puck deep in the zone, drawing the defensive flow to him and then snapping a pass back to Kevin Klein at the left point. Klein quick relayed the puck across the blue line to Zanon at the right point for a blast over Kiprusoff’s right shoulder.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Nick Tarnasky created a turnover with a strong forecheck. Jerred Smithson corralled the puck along the left wing boards and made a touch pass to Tootoo flying through the near side slot. Tootoo snapped a shot high for his first goal of the season, just 19 seconds after Zanon’s score.
On the next shift, Nashville created a power-play opportunity when Craig Conroy was whistled for tripping. The Preds used the man-advantage to extend the lead to 3-0. Legwand carried the puck into the offensive zone and made a drop pass to Weber at the left point to start a tick-tack-toe sequence to Dumont on the right wing to Arnott in the slot. Arnott looked off the defense by deking a pass back to Dumont and then snapping a shot high for his third goal of the season.
Calgary got on the board with 5:56 left in the middle period, countering a Nashville scoring chance. Dumont won the race to negate an icing call and nearly feathered a crossing feed for a redirect score, but the pass was broken up late. The Flames countered in transition, with Craig Conroy gaining the offensive zone and then dropping a pass to Jarome Iginla. Iginla dipped his way to the faceoff dot and snapped a shot just inside the far post for his third of the season.
The Predators had three power-play chances early in the third period, including an extended five-on-three, but despite controlling the play in the offensive zone, were unable to net the fourth goal. Calgary then tallied a pair of goals 1:13 apart in similar fashion – with pucks pinballing near the top of the goal crease and Flames forwards collecting the loose pucks and tucking them behind a sprawled out Dan Ellis. Iginla scored the first with David Moss netting the equalizer at 8:05.
The Flames took their first lead of the night with 7:29 remaining in regulation, a power-play goal from Mike Cammalleri. Calgary started on an innocent looking breakout play, when Dustin Boyd fed a pass back to the trailing Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf fired a shot on net which was redirected by Cammalleri for the score.
Iginla closed out the scoring with an empty net tally at the 19:57 mark, his third score of the game and fifth of the season.
Nashville's three goals in 2:28 tied a franchise record quickest three goals in a home game ... Kevin Klein extended his scoring streak to 3 consecutive games (1g, 2a) ... J.P. Dumont has a point in 6 of Nashville's first 7 games, including a current 3-game scoring streak (1g, 2a) ... Nick Tarnasky made his Predators debut recording an assist and 5 penalty minutes in 3:42 of ice time ... 21 different skaters have recorded a point for the Predators this season, including 16 different goal scorers. Tarnasky recorded his first point of the season in tonight's game (the 21st Preds skater with a point). Jordin Tootoo and Greg Zanon netted their first goals of the season in tonight's game (the 15th and 16th Preds skater with a goal).
Post-Game Quotes Head Coach Barry Trotz Regarding Iginla’s first goal…
“It was probably a combination of a few things. They obviously got some momentum from Iginla’s goal but it was also our inability to convert on a 5-on-3. We could have buried them. They killed it off and got momentum. It was very similar to their game against Washington. They took a bunch of penalties and killed them off. The same thing happened tonight. It took momentum away from us. The first 30 minutes we were clearly the better hockey team, and the last thirty they were better. The converted and made us pay. We also lost some crucial drops and they got some deflections and rebounds. That one hurts because that is a game you’ve got to lock down. We had several chances to lock it down and we didn’t.”
On the amount of similar goals scored, on deflections, this year …
“I think there’s been a lot of that this year in the league in general. Teams are crashing the net and throwing the puck there. Even on there power play it was a point shot and deflected off one of our guys and Camalleri was there. They created rebounds and deflections. They went to the net hard and created chances tonight.”
On the Predators’ power play…
“On the power play, we have got to win the draw. When we got set up we had numerous chances. We got a lot of pucks at the net. Kiprusoff was really good – he was outstanding in the first period. We had a lot of opportunities and hit the post. We’re sitting here with a loss right now but we take anything away from Calgary. They hung in there and wouldn’t go away.”
On losing at home…
“It hurts more because our schedule is so lopsided in terms of the number of games on the road so we’re going to have to become good road warriors and win a lot of games there. This one hurts double because it’s a home game and it is against a team we’ll be battling with all season. We had them on the floor but we couldn’t knock them out.”
Goaltender Dan Ellis On the flow of the game...
“I think we came out really strong in the first period and both teams were playing really well--though I think we had a few more shots. We had a few power plays and we were really moving it. In the second period we pretty much owned them and then in the third we just kind of let up and they took it to us. They were getting pucks and people to the net and they were banging home their rebounds. They just wanted it a little more than us in the end.”
On looking ahead to the next game...
“You have to put it behind you. It was a game you shouldn’t lose--you are up 3-1 going into the third period there is absolutely no reason you should lose that game. Tonight we didn’t play strong and I didn’t stop the puck when I needed to and they got the two points. They just got the better of us tonight.”
Defenseman Shea Weber On the loss...
“I think we sat back on our heels and let them get back into the game and they came back to win it.”
On getting too comfortable with the lead...
“That’s what happened tonight but that’s not the case all of the time. It’s something we’ve got to improve on and we can’t do it again.”
On putting this game behind them...
“We’re going to have to put it behind us. We’ve got a game Saturday and we can’t afford to lose many games at home. We’ve got to play well on the road and win our games at home.”
Forward J.P. Dumont On not capitalizing on the power plays...
“We had a few power plays and we had some good chances but we didn’t put the puck in and that is going to cost us a few games. We had a chance to take the game away from them when it was 3-1 but when you don’t score on the five-on-threes--especially when you have one for two minutes like we did tonight-- it will cost you the game. After that they just kept it simple. We sat back and watched them play. They just got to the net, shot the puck, and got their rebounds. We had the game when it was 3-1 but we had some power plays and we didn’t score.
On the importance of winning at home...
“We don’t play that many games at home for the first 20 games and we let this game get away from us. Especially the way we did it. Even if you don’t score on a five-on-three you have to make sure you keep skating. The power plays we had we stopped skating and they took control and we didn’t do anything to get it back”