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game recap

Juuse Saros, Predators hold off Flames

Calgary scores three goals in third period after Nashville takes 4-0 lead

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Ryan Ellis scored twice, Juuse Saros made 32 saves, and the Nashville Predators held on to defeat the Calgary Flames 4-3 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

James Neal and Filip Forsberg scored, and Viktor Arvidsson had two assists for the Predators (21-17-7), who have won four of the past five games to move ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"It's a big win," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "We're sitting outside looking in. We've got to get in and then we've got to try to advance our position from there. No matter how you look at it it's a win."

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Flames highlights

 

Kris Versteeg, Michael Frolik and Sean Monahan scored, and Chad Johnson made 17 saves for the Flames (24-21-3), who have lost three of the past four games (1-2-1).

"We're bouncing around a little bit right now and it's hard to explain," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You'd think we're not in a playoff race and that's how we're playing. We've got to realize where we're at."

The Predators took a 1-0 lead at 4:59 of the first period when Neal shot a rebound between Johnson's pads.

Video: NSH@CGY: Fisher collects 300th assist on goal by Neal

Ellis scored at 11:23 of the second period and on the power play at 18:58 for his first multigoal game in the NHL and extending the lead to 3-0.

"We only won by one, so we needed them all, all the run support we could get," Ellis said.

Forsberg put the Predators up 4-0 on a breakaway at 8:21 of the third period.

Video: NSH@CGY: Ellis goes five-hole for PPG late in 2nd

"This time of the year your goalie has to step up and make a couple of those saves, a couple breakaway saves," Johnson said. "You never know what might happen from there. If you let three or four goals in it's not good enough in this league."

Calgary scored three times in 2:55 to cut the lead to 4-3.

Video: NSH@CGY: Versteeg's scorcher finds twine for PPG

Versteeg's shot deflected off the stick of Predators defenseman Yannick Weber and by Saros at 16:17, and Frolik scored 17 seconds later. That goal was initially ruled goaltender interference, but Gulutzan successfully challenged the call.

Monahan scored with Johnson on the bench for the extra attacker with 47.2 seconds left.

"The way the last game against Vancouver went (a 1-0 loss on Tuesday), we felt we deserved a little better in that one," Ellis said. "Tonight we worked for about 57 minutes and still got rewarded for it, so it's a good sign for our team."

 
Goal of the game

After Harry Zolnierczyk put Ellis in on a partial breakaway, he shot off Johnson's glove to put the Predators up 2-0.

"Their [defenseman] was down the wall, so I knew it was either no one back or a forward back, so I jumped in the rush," Ellis said. "Harry made a great play, right between two guys, and I just shot the puck."

Video: NSH@CGY: Ellis snaps a shot past Johnson on breakaway

 
Saves of the game

Saros stopped Monahan in the slot at 17:46 of the first period as Calgary's 5-on-3 power play expired, and again on a redirect by Monahan six seconds later.

"We just leaned on Juuse," Nashville forward Craig Smith said. "He made some good saves."

Video: NSH@CGY: Saros makes two stops on Flames' power play

 
Highlight of the game

Forsberg shot by Johnson's glove for the game-winner after being put in alone by Arvidsson.

Video: NSH@CGY: Forsberg buries Arvidsson's pass, pads lead

 
Unsung performance of the game

Ellis knocked away Mark Giordano's centering pass with 6.3 seconds remaining in the third period.

 
They said it

"They got the first one on the power play and then it just unraveled from there. That's all you need sometimes, a little momentum, and they ended up getting the second one and all of a sudden we're in a dogfight, the goalie's pulled and anything can happen." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

 

"We had lots of shots but it was just tough to really get in there and get good looks. They battle hard. They have big bodies. They clear the net. We came back. I think if anything we have positives there that we came back and made it a game. But again, it's disappointing. It was a big game and we didn't come through." -- Flames goaltender Chad Johnson

 
Need to know

Ellis played a game-high 27:54. … Nashville was without defensemen P.K. Subban (upper body) and Roman Josi (upper body). … Monahan has scored in four consecutive games. … Predators forward Mike Fisher got his 300th NHL assist on Neal's goal. … Flames forward Sam Bennett was a healthy scratch.

 
What's next

Predators: At the Edmonton Oilers on Friday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Flames: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Ellis, Saros lead Preds past Flames

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