CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Jason Arnott believes the best is yet to come from the young Nashville Predators.
Signed as a free agent by Nashville last July, Arnott scored twice Saturday night as the Predators built a 2-0 lead after two periods then hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.
After starting the season with three losses, Nashville (6-3-1) has picked up points in each of its last seven games and is tied for the Central Division lead with the Detroit Red Wings.
"We started this season not the way we wanted, but we're improving every game," said Arnott, whose 834 career games makes him the Predators' most experienced player. "We're a young team, we're still learning, and good things will happen for us down the road if we continue playing hard."
Arnott's second goal gave Calgary a 3-1 lead. Miikka Kiprusoff, who had been spectacular all night in goal for the Flames, had no chance when Shea Weber's shot from the blue line caromed off Arnott's stick, changed directions, and went into the top corner of the net.
Calgary drew back within one for the second time in the period on Jarome Iginla's second goal of the game with 3:43 left. However, Tomas Vokoun came up with some big saves in a hectic sequence in the final seconds.
Vokoun finished with 25 saves to improve to 10-3-3 lifetime against the Flames.
"We weren't good enough early," Iginla said. "We've been a good third period team this season, but we know we have to find a way to be better early. We need to be tied or better going into the third instead of being down."
Nashville has won the past five meetings between the teams and has lost just once to the Flames in their last 11 games.
JP Dumont also scored for Nashville, which started a five-game road trip with their fourth straight road win away from home.
"It was a battle of world class goaltenders tonight with Kiprusoff versus Vokoun and I think Vouk knew it, and he wanted to make sure he was up for the challenge," Nashville's Steve Sullivan said.
After playing just once in the past eight days, Calgary (3-5-1) began a busy stretch of five games in eight days.
Matthew Lombardi had an assist to extend his points streak to six games (3 goals, 5 assists).
Arnott made it 2-0 with a power-play goal after the Flames had killed off two penalties earlier in the period.
"When you're penalty killing for the first period-and-a-half, it takes a lot of guys out of the game and it gives them momentum," Iginla said. "They don't even have to score, our goalie can make some unbelievable saves, but it's a lot of momentum. They took it, they built on it and it took us a long time to get it back and in the end we ran out of time."
Early in the third period, with the Flames on the power play, Sullivan stole the puck at the Nashville blue line and took off on a clean breakaway only to be thwarted by Kiprusoff.
The Flames headed back up the ice where Kristian Huselius threaded a pass to Iginla at the side of the net and the Flames captain tucked the puck inside the post.
There were just 13 seconds left in the first period when Dumont came up with a loose puck and snapped a shot past Kiprusoff.
Notes: Calgary D Dion Phaneuf was out with the flu, his first missed NHL game. In his rookie season last year, Phaneuf was one of only four Flames to play in all 82 games. That opened up a spot for rookie D Mark Giordano, who scored twice in his last game on Oct. 14 ... Sullivan returned to the lineup after missing three games with back spasms ... Kiprusoff is the only goaltender that has played every minute of his team's games ... Calgary LW Jeff Friesen has not scored in his last 25 games.
|J-P Dumont (3) Backhand shot - ASST: Steve Sullivan (5), David Legwand (5)|
1 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Jason Arnott (4) Slapshot - ASST: Shea Weber (6), Martin Erat (6)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Jarome Iginla (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Kristian Huselius (2), Matthew Lombardi (5)|
2 - 1 NSH
|Jason Arnott (5) Tip-in - ASST: Shea Weber (7), Martin Erat (7)|
3 - 1 NSH
|Jarome Iginla (5) Snap shot - ASST: Daymond Langkow (6)|
3 - 2 NSH
|Andrew Ference Hooking against Martin Erat|
|Roman Hamrlik Hooking against Scott Nichol|
|Byron Ritchie Interference against Jason Arnott|
|Martin Erat Interference on goalkeeper against Miikka Kiprusoff|
|Rhett Warrener Tripping against Jason Arnott|
|Andrei Zyuzin Interference against Scott Hartnell|
|David Legwand Hooking against Kristian Huselius|
|Andrew Ference Tripping against Marek Zidlicky|
|Dan Hamhuis Holding against Jamie Lundmark|
|Mark Giordano Holding against Steve Sullivan|