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Flames 3, Predators 2, OT @NHLdotcom

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Rhett Warrener didn't expect to be on the ice for the faceoff deep in the offensive zone, let alone score the winning goal in overtime.

Warrener's unlikely tally, his fourth of the season, at 1:27 gave the Calgary Flames a critical 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

"I was surprised to even be out there," said the rugged defenseman, who has scored 23 goals in 11 NHL seasons. "When you get a chance to do something like that and it goes in, you feel pretty fortunate. I don't think you expect it from guys like myself."

Stephane Yelle won the faceoff and knocked the puck to Alex Tanguay along the boards. Tanguay then fired a pass in front that Warrener deflected through the pads of goaltender Chris Mason.

"I was leaving the front of the net and I saw Alex had it and I just threw a stick out there," Warrener said. "It wasn't much of my doing."

Calgary captain Jarome Iginla admitted he was surprised to see Warrener out there.

"He's usually not sitting in the crease anytime, especially not 4-on-4," Iginla said. "But we had the right guy along the wall to get the puck to him."

Craig Conroy and Tanguay also scored for Calgary. Jason Arnott and Vernon answered for Nashville, which clinched the first playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Combined with their 2-1 win Detroit on Tuesday night, the Flames have picked up four points this week as they try to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot. The Flames are six points ahead of the streaking Colorado Avalanche.

"Two wins like this would be big no matter who we're playing," Iginla said, "but playing two of the top teams in the whole league, this is something to definitely build off of, to get us some momentum, get us feeling good about ourselves, and get us going on a streak again."

Calgary had lost eight straight against Nashville since last beating the Predators on Jan. 22, 2004. The Predators, who have lost four of five, moved into a tie for first place overall with Buffalo and maintained their one point lead over Detroit atop the Central Division.

Conroy tied it at 2 for the Flames at 16:13 of the third period. Iginla's shot attempt deflected off the stick of Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon and bounced across the slot right to Conroy, who snapped a shot past Mason.

"They were struggling for a while and Colorado is not too far behind them and they needed the point and you could tell, they played desperate and they really wanted to win," said Nashville center Peter Forsberg, who had two assists.

Among those missing from Nashville's lineup due to injury were Steve Sullivan (back), Scott Hartnell (foot), and Martin Erat (knee).

"Once we get all our people healthy, we'll be a lot different team," coach Barry Trotz said. "We've got a lot of pieces we can still add so we'll be a different team."

Nashville took a 2-1 lead 43 seconds into the third period when Fiddler broke to the net and neatly steered Forsberg's perfectly placed pass behind goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

After giving up an uncharacteristic 20 goals in his previous five starts, Kiprusoff has been sharp this week. He made 30 saves Tuesday and 24 against Nashville.

"It was a good hockey game," Forsberg said. "It was physical, good chances back and forth, good goaltending, it was like a playoff game today for sure."

Arnott and Tanguay exchanged power-play goals less than 2 minutes apart in the first period.

Notes: Tanguay extended his point streak to five games (three goals, four assists). ... With RW Jordin Tootoo sitting out the second game of a five-game suspension, Nashville coach Barry Trotz used seven defensemen for the second straight game. ... Nashville D Shea Weber played in his 100th NHL game. ... The Predators played the final game of 19 sets of back-to-back contests. They are 13-3-3 in the back ends. ... Calgary has scored 236 goals through 74 games, its most in a season since netting 241 in 1995-96.

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