CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames battled back three times but couldn't find a fourth.
The Flames overcame deficits of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 before falling 6-5 to the visiting Nashville Predators at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.
Goals from Victor Bartley and Shea Weber 49 seconds apart early in the first period staked the Predators to an early 2-0 lead but Kris Russell, with his first in 29 games, pulled Calgary to within one with 33.9 seconds remaining in the period.
Patric Hornqvist’s 14th of the season temporarily restored Nashville’s two-goal margin in the second, but markers from Mike Cammalleri and Jiri Hudler less than a minute apart squared the game 3-3.
The tie held for just 52 seconds after Viktor Stalberg’s eighth of the year beat starter Joni Ortio and put the Predators up 4-3. Joey Macdonald came on in relief.
Mikael Backlund’s 18th of the season at 13:31 pulled the Flames even and chased Nashville starter Pekka Rinne from the game.
The two teams remain tied until 14:28 of the third when Weber’s second of the game put Nashville ahead for the third time. Matt Cullen beat MacDonald three minutes later to extend the Predators’ lead to two.
Cullen’s goal, his seventh of the year, held up as the winner after Cammalleri’s sharp-angled shot beat Carter Hutton with 2:24 remaining to pull the Flames back within one.
With MacDonald on the bench, Calgary pressed for the equalizer but came up short.
GOAL OF THE GAME
After stealing the puck from Rinne on the forecheck, Bouma fed Backlund for a virtual tap-in tie the game 4-4 at 13:31 and chase the Predators’ starter from the game.
SAVE OF THE GAME
After Stalberg’s wrister from the top of the circles was blocked before getting to the Flames’ net, the puck squired loose to Colin Wilson whose second attempt was denied by the glove of Ortio to keep Calgary within one just 3:07 into the second period.
Cullen’s goal with 2:52 remaining in regulation gave Nashville a two-goal lead, a cushion they’d need after Cammalleri’s second of the night pulled the Flames within one.
STAT OF THE GAME
With Kenny Agostino’s debut, Calgary has had 40 different players suit up this season.
Kevin Westgarth and Ben Hanowski were scratched against the Predators. Markus Granlund (upper body), Dennis Wideman (upper body), David Jones (upper body) and Karri Ramo (lower body) all missed the game due to injury.
With a quick turnaround, the Flames travel to Edmonton to take on the Oilers on Hockey Night in Canada (8 p.m. MST, CBC, Sportsnet 960 The FAN).