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Captain scores winner to cap off wild game in Nashville

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers /

NASHVILLE - The Flames are leaving Music City on a winning note.

Micheal Ferland and Mikael Backlund each had two goals, and Mark Giordano scored 43 seconds into overtime to complete a third-period rally and help Calgary to a 6-5 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Video: CGY@NSH: Giordano banks in OT winner off a skate

" I think that's a good lesson for our group down the stretch here," Giordano said. "There's going to be some downs. There's going to be some ups. That's some pretty good character to show in the third to come back and tie that and then win it."

Dougie Hamilton also scored and Johnny Gaudreau finished with a career-high four assists for the Flames, who move to within one point of Nashville for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"It's a battle. We're in a battle," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "This is what it's like to battle another team that's trying to claw and scrape to be in the playoffs. I thought there was a lot of character shown by both clubs…them coming back and their push in the second and our push-back in the third showed a lot for our group."

Filip Forsberg had a hat-trick and PK Subban and Colin Wilson also scored for the Predators.

Giordano's cross-crease pass to Gaudreau deflected off Forsberg before bouncing by Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros and in to give the Flames their sixth win in the past nine games.

"You can see the respect [Gaudreau] gets out there," Giordano said. "No one really wants to challenge him one-on-one. Try to keep it in his hands. [Sean Monahan] slid up and slid one over to me. That created a 2-on-1 at the net and I'm hoping I get a bounce like that or it gets through to Johnny. I got a lucky bounce."

After giving up a three-goal lead, Calgary pieced together its own rally to come from behind.

Backlund scored his second of the game and 17th of the season with a shot by Saros' blocker to tie the game 5-5 at 10:50 of the third period, and Elliott stopped Calle Jarnkrok at 16:06, and Mike Fisher with 42.9 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

Elliott finished with 23 saves.

"I thought that Ells battled hard," Gulutzan said. "Big saves at the end.

"Johnny had four assists. He made plays tonight. He backchecked. He came back and made some plays and created offence from it. He was fully engaged and he was dangerous.

"[Ferland]. Sam Bennett…loved his game.

 "Passion. You saw it in our group. That's what those guys are doing. It's what we've talked about all year is their battle and passion-level they're a great group."

Ferland put the Flames up 1-0 just 46 seconds into the contest when his one-timer off a backhand dish from Gaudreau deflected off Roman Josi and behind Predators starter Pekka Rinne.

Video: CGY@NSH: Ferland buries Gaudreau's no-look drop pass

Subban tied the game 1-1 at 9:40, but Backlund restored the lead when he shot a rebound on Matthew Tkachuk's initial shot short side and in.

Ferland scored again with 2:36 remaining in the period. He elected to keep on a 2-on-1 with Gaudreau and sniped a shot short side just under the bar to give Calgary a 3-1 edge.

Hamilton chased Rinne with a wrister through traffic in the high slot and by his blocker to extend Calgary's lead to 4-1 at 5:12 of the second period. Gaudreau set up the play to earn his third assist of the game.

Video: CGY@NSH: Hamilton waits, buries shot through traffic

Nashville rallied to score four straight after replacing Rinne with Saros.

Forsberg pulled Nashville to within two with a backhand far side on Elliott at 10:50. Wilson tipped Ryan Ellis' point shot behind Elliott 57 seconds later to make it 4-3, and Forsberg scored his second on a setup by Roman Josi to tie the game at 16:07.

Forsberg netted his third with 32.1 seconds remaining in the second with a one-timer by Elliott on a pass from Ryan Johansen. 

It setup Calgary's third-period rally.

"That's big-time character," Giordano said. "We're up 4-1, then score four goals. They scored their last one … whatever it was left in the period.

Video: Captain talks about his OT winner

"To come out the way we did we had some great shifts early. I thought we carried the play in the third and we had a big (penalty) kill at the end. You can't get more positive than that in a period.

"Moose comes up with a couple huge saves and then we go from there. In OT we win the draw, which is always huge and really we didn't lose possession after that."

NOTES: Michael Stone , who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday in exchange for a third round pick and a conditional fifth round pick, made his debut for the Flames. He had one assist in 17:09 of ice time. Troy Brouwer finished with a game-high six hits. Deryk Engelland led the Flames with four blocked shots. Forward Freddie Hamilton and defencemen Dennis Wideman and Jyrki Jokipakka were scratched for Calgary.

UP NEXT: The Flames continue with the first of back-to-back games in the state of Florida against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday (5:30 p.m. MT; SNW, SN960).

  • With files from Torie Peterson
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