"If you win, you might move up a slot," Iginla said. "But there are so many teams that if you lose you're moving down two for sure because someone from that group is winning. Every game gets more important from here on out. It's going to be a heck of a race with so many teams that are within a few points of each other."
David Legwand had a last chance to extend the shootout but couldn't solve Kiprusoff.
"We've got to hunker down when it's 1-0 and go from there and not let anything else happen after that," Legwand said.
Calgary now has gone past regulation six times in the past 11 games and improved to 7-4 in shootouts this season. More importantly, the Flames continued their Western rally, having grabbed at least a point in 10 of the past 11 games.
"They've been consistent efforts," Sarich said of this streak. "That's the biggest thing. Giving ourselves a chance and not beating ourselves. We're staying in games. We've limited our mistakes from the start of the year, and that's been huge for our success."
Flames coach Brent Sutter called his team resilient again.
"We just stayed the course, kept plugging away, kept working hard. We never did anything fancy, but we did a lot of things the right way," Sutter said.
Rinne, the NHL's third star for January, got Nashville to the shootout by stopping four shots in overtime, his best a stick save on Jokinen with 2:20 left. Then he smothered a slap shot by Stajan 15 seconds later.
Nashville entered with a 6-2 record in shootout games, but the oh-so-streaky Predators now have lost three straight overall, picking up where they left off going into the All-Star weekend.
"At least we got one point tonight, but there comes a point where we've got to figure out how to lock things down," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "There are 31 games left, and if we're not going to find a way to get two points, we're going to be out of the playoffs."
They seemed in control most of the game. Erat scored his seventh from the slot, tipping in a nice pass from Kostitsyn from the left circle at 7:43 of the first.
Kiprusoff put Nashville on the power play at the end of the second period, swiping his glove across Predators center Nick Spaling's face. But Nashville couldn't convert.
Stajan tied it at 1 at 2:57 in the third with his fourth goal of the season, converting a slap shot off an assist from Tim Jackman.
Nashville got the lead back with a rare goal for one of the NHL's worst teams on the man advantage. The Predators came in ranked 28th. Hornqvist scored his 16th this season with a wrister from the slot off a pass from Weber, beating Kiprusoff glove-side at 4:56 - just 28 seconds after Jokinen went to the penalty box for tripping.
It didn't last long as Sarich scored from the right circle at 9:04 to tie it up against Rinne, who has yet to beat Calgary. He now is 0-3-2 against the Flames.
"It felt good to win and come back from the break and get two points right away," Kiprusoff said.
NOTES: Erat's goal also was the 130th of his career. ... Flames defenseman Steve Staios (ribs) was a scratch. He is day to day. ... Nashville improved to 19-3-4 when scoring first and 16-3-4 when leading after the first period.
|Martin Erat (7) ASST: Sergei Kostitsyn (15), Marcel Goc (13)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Matt Stajan (4) ASST: Tim Jackman (10), Curtis Glencross (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Patric Hornqvist (16) ASST: Shea Weber (22), Sergei Kostitsyn (16)|
2 - 1 NSH
|Cory Sarich (2) ASST: Alex Tanguay (26), Brendan Morrison (20)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||R. Bourque||M. Erat|
|2||A. Tanguay||C. Franson|
|3||O. Jokinen||D. Legwand|
|Nick Spaling Hooking against Olli Jokinen|
|Ryan Suter Closing hand on puck|
|Adam Pardy Interference against Jerred Smithson|
|Robyn Regehr Slashing against Nick Spaling|
|Nick Spaling Tripping against Niklas Hagman|
|Jerred Smithson Hi-sticking against Niklas Hagman|
|Miikka Kiprusoff Interference against Jerred Smithson|
|Olli Jokinen Tripping against Joel Ward|
|Nick Spaling Interference against Brendan Morrison|