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game recap

Predators gain on Flames in playoff race

Close within one point for first wild card from Western Conference

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators climbed within one point of the Calgary Flames for the first Western Conference wild card by defeating them 3-1 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons and Ryan Ellis scored, and Pekka Rinne made 24 saves for the Predators (37-25-11), who are tied with the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division.

"That's a huge win against a good team," Rinne said. "They've been really hot as of late. They came hard, I thought, in the first and second. In the third period, I thought we locked it down pretty good, didn't give them a lot. It's a big character win. It's not always pretty and it's not always a fancy game, but it's efficient."


WATCH: All Flames vs. Predators highlights


The Flames (41-29-4) have lost two in a row and are three points behind the Edmonton Oilers for third place in the Pacific Division. Edmonton defeated the Colorado Avalanche 7-4.

"There's no cause for worry," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You've got to push. It wasn't like in today's game we were dominated and we weren't ready to play. We were ready to play. They're a good hockey club. Like I said with the power play, we've just got to keep doing our thing and moving forward."

Jarnkrok gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 5:02 of the second period on the power play. Craig Smith made a pass from behind the net to the slot, and Jarnkrok beat goaltender Chad Johnson for his 15th goal.

Sissons gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 7:58 of the second period on a wrist shot from below the right faceoff circle. Colin Wilson made a nice move and passed to Sissons, who scored his sixth goal.

Video: CGY@NSH: Sissons tallies from a sharp angle in 2nd

"[Wilson] made an awesome move, a really deceptive cut to the middle," Sissons said. "I found some open ice and was just kind of creeping on the back side and fortunately had enough room to put it away."

Dougie Hamilton made it 2-1 at 10:29 of the second period on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle. Micheal Ferland passed across the slot, and Hamilton beat Rinne for his 12th goal.

Ellis gave the Predators a 3-1 lead at 12:00 of the third period on a wrist shot from the top of the slot. He intercepted the puck along the boards to score his 15th goal.

"You've got to be comfortable playing all kinds of games and all situations," Rinne said. "Like earlier tonight, the [penalty kill] was tremendous tonight. We took probably more penalties than we usually like, but the [penalty kill] did an amazing job (5-for-5). Going into the postseason, you've got to be ready to win games like that and play solid defensively and score timely goals and have good special teams."

Video: CGY@NSH: Hamilton buries one-timer short side


Goal of the game

Jarnkrok got open in the middle of the slot to receive a pass from Smith and beat Johnson on the glove side.

Video: CGY@NSH: Jarnkrok finishes Smith's feed with wrister


Save of the game

Rinne made a save on Troy Brouwer on a wrist shot attempt from the slot at 3:08 of the first period.

Video: CGY@NSH: Rinne comes up with a pair of tough stops


Unsung performance of the game

Wilson won a battle for the puck and chipped it behind the net to Smith to set up the play that led to Jarnkrok's goal.


Highlight of the game

Ellis intercepted a clearing attempt by Sean Monahan along the boards and took a wrist shot that beat Johnson for his third goal in the past two games.

Video: CGY@NSH: Ellis keeps puck in zone, nets wrister


They said it

"You can't get down, not at this time of the year. It's not the time to let two (losses) turn into three and then more." -- Flames captain Mark Giordano


"I'm feeling good and confident, just trying to play a quiet game and make some timely saves. Of course I got a little bit lucky there too. The puck hit the post, I think, three times in the first period. Sometimes you need that luck to be on your side a little bit. That one felt really good." -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne


Need to know

Ferland returned to the lineup after missing two games with an illness and had one assist in 15:45 of ice time. He was on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Monahan. … Rinne has allowed one goal in each of his past three games. ... Predators captain Mike Fisher (lower body) missed the game and is day to day.


What's next

Flames: At the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; CSN-CA FS-TN, NHL.TV)


Video: Rinne backstops Predators to 3-1 victory

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