The Nashville Predators
had gone more than five months without an overtime victory. The first one couldn't have come at a better time.
Shea Weber scored a power-play goal with 1:23 left in overtime to give the Predators a 4-3 victory against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night -- and earning Nashville two crucial points in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Predators jumped to ninth in the West, one point behind eighth-place Calgary -- but Nashville has played two fewer games.
Steven Kampfer was penalized for holding Mike Fisher 2:59 into overtime. Weber scored off a pass from Ryan Suter and Nashville won for the first time in overtime this season. The Predators' previous six victories past regulation all came in the shootout.
"Overtime has not been kind to the Nashville Predators, so that was huge for us," coach Barry Trotz said. "It was a huge two points. You talk about a character win."
Nashville won for the third time in four games on a five-game homestand that concludes with a visit from Detroit on Saturday.
"We definitely needed that," center Colin Wilson said. "With how close the race is, every point counts. So to get that extra one was a big deal for us."
David Legwand's goal tied it at 10:56 of the third period, and he also had an assist on the game-winner. Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn each had a goal and an assist.
Patrice Bergeron put Boston up 3-2 with his goal 1:42 into the third. Seguin and David Krejci also scored for Boston, which played the first of two games with center Brad Marchand suspended by the NHL for an elbow to the head of Columbus center R.J. Umberger.
The Bruins, still first in the Northeast Division, are 1-2-3 in their last six games.
"We have to get sharper in our decision making because right now it is becoming too costly for us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
This game featured two top candidates for the Vezina Trophy in goalies Tim Thomas of Boston and Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Thomas came in with the league's best save percentage and goals against average with Rinne second in both categories.
But Thomas sat while backup Tuukka Rask played in the Bruins' first trip to Nashville since Feb. 14, 2009. Rask lost for only the second time in his past seven games, while Rinne stopped a big shot by Zdeno Chara in overtime to give the Predators a chance to win.
"Peks today was spectacular," Trotz said. "He kept us in there all game, and that's why I think he's a Vezina and a Hart candidate."
The Bruins scored first as Tyler Seguin scored on a wrister over Rinne's glove just 1:50 after the opening faceoff. Nashville tied it at 7:53 when Kostitsyn got the puck at the edge of the right circle and wristed it past Rask.
Boston got a five-minute power play when Patric Hornqvist was called for an elbowing major and a game misconduct for elbowing Seguin, but Nashville killed off the Bruins' long power play. Seguin hadn't seen the replay after the game, but said he saw Hornqvist coming and braced for a hit.
"Then I felt something, and it kind of hit my ear," Seguin said.
Said Trotz: "We have the advantage of watching it in slow motion, and we have the advantage of watching it numerous times. (The referee) has to make a split-second call, and angles are everything for what you see."
Wilson put Nashville up 2-1 at 10:59 of the second period by finishing off give and go with Jonathon Blum by beating Rask with a wrist shot from the left wing. But Boston tied it at 13:33 when Krejci scored into the open side of the net after Rinne stopped a shot by Nathan Horton.
Bergeron put the Bruins ahead with his 22nd this season, a wrister past Rinne. The Bruins later missed a shot off the post during a power play -- and paid the price when Martin Erat came out of the box after the penalty, got the puck and had a breakaway on Rask who stopped his shot. Rask also stopped Kostitsyn's shot off the rebound but couldn't stop Legwand, who hit a wide-open net for his 12th goal. Rask tossed his stick into the air in frustration.
"Maybe I could have done something differently, but it wasn't a bad game," Rask said. "Just a tough loss."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report