NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ To a young franchise trying to survive its first
playoff race, a point is better than nothing. Just ask the Nashville Predators.
Jarome Iginla scored 31 seconds into the third period, and Miikka Kiprusoff
stopped 28 shots in helping the Calgary Flames salvage a 4-4 tie Saturday night
with the Predators.
Nashville entered two points behind sixth-place Calgary in the Western
Conference, desperately needing to win with just five home games left. But the
Flames stretched the Predators' winless skid to four, including two straight
The Predators are tied for seventh with St. Louis, a 5-3 winner over
Columbus, and a point ahead of Los Angeles.
``You don't want to slide at all,'' Nashville forward Scott Walker said.
``It's better than no points, but we had our chances to get two, and we felt we
should've had it. We're going to stay positive and be happy with the point.
It's too late in the year to start being negative.''
The Flames kept their cushion by extending their unbeaten streak to four. It
wasn't easy, as both teams went at each other all night long, each answering
every goal in a roller-coaster game.
The scoring reached a fever pitch with Nashville blowing a 3-1 lead. The
teams combined for five goals within a 2:53 span that bridged the second and
Iginla capped the spurt when he scored 18 seconds after Adam Hall put
Nashville up 4-3, scoring off Craig Conroy's third assist of the game and
making coach Darryl Sutter very happy.
``That's huge. That's a resilient effort to come back from 3-1 and then down
4-3,'' he said.
Kiprusoff, the stingiest goalie in the NHL, stopped nine shots in the third
and got a bit of luck as Steve Sullivan shot the puck over the crossbar in
Nashville coach Barry Trotz wasn't ready to bash his Predators for blowing
the lead. He said they're learning how to handle playoff-like intensity and he
saw improvement in how they scored against Kiprusoff.
``We did a lot of good things,'' Trotz said. ``We just have to respond. We
got the lead, we've got to make sure we squeeze the life out of them.''
Shean Donovan added two assists for Calgary, which also got goals from
Marcus Nilson, Ville Nieminen and Chris Simon.
Andreas Johansson had a power-play goal, Jeremy Stevenson had a power-play
goal, and Scott Hartnell had a goal in his first game since Feb. 20. Martin
Erat had two assists.
Stevenson's power-play goal at 17:38 of the second put Nashville up 3-1 but
the lead didn't last.
Tomas Vokoun, perhaps lulled by facing only seven shots through the first 35
minutes, gave up two goals within 31 seconds. Nieminen scored 50 seconds later
from in front.
It got worse as Kiprusoff got an assist as he cleared the puck, and
Johansson missed picking it up near the blue line. Conroy quickly found Simon
skating up the slot for his 15th goal at 19:03.
Vokoun blamed himself for not making the necessary saves.
``We should've won. I owe the guys a point, and hopefully before (the season
ends) I can get it back somewhere,'' he said.
The scoring started just 26 seconds in when Nilson netted his third goal in
two games since being acquired from Florida.