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Russell's OT goal lifts Flames past Predators

by Robby Stanley

NASHVILLE -- Defenseman Kris Russell scored 1:23 into overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 2-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Forward Johnny Gaudreau led a 2-on-1 rush and fed a pass to Russell, who was able to get to the puck and beat Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne for his second goal.

"I think you've got to give some credit to [goaltender Karri Ramo] and [defenseman Dougie Hamilton] behind the net," Russell said. "[Hamilton] won the battle, and he got it to [Gaudreau] to force that 2-on-1. I was just going to the far post. A guy like that, you just keep your stick on the ice. I tried to put it away for him, and I did. [Gaudreau] makes an incredible pass. He had [Predators defenseman Shea Weber thinking], didn't know what was going on. When you have special players like that making a lot of plays, it's fun."

The Flames (14-14-2) have won six in a row and are a League-best 8-1 in games decided during 3-on-3 overtime.

"That's a big win for us after a pretty tough first period," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "That team works hard and they really come. They really skate. They were really aggressive, I felt, all night. As the game went on, I thought we got better and better."

Russell said there's a method and confidence Calgary has that has led to the Flames' success in overtime.

"I think come 3-on-3, when you don't have the puck you've got to make sure you keep a tight triangle," Russell said. "You kind of bide your time, try to keep them to the outside, and then when you've got an opportunity, you've got to go. I saw [Gaudreau] went so I tried to jump up, and he made a great play."

The Predators (15-10-6) are 1-2-1 in their past four games and 9-4-2 at home.

Cody Hodgson gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 5:09 of the first period when he scored on a penalty shot. Hodgson was hooked by Flames defenseman T.J Brodie on a breakaway and was awarded the penalty shot. He made a quick move to freeze Ramo and then beat him with a wrist shot on the glove side for his third goal.

"It was good to get that first goal," Weber said. "I think we needed to get that second one. I thought we had a lot more chances in the first."

Brodie tied the game 1-1 at 12:28 of the second period. Nashville lost Brodie in coverage, and he took a pass from forward Sam Bennett and fired a wrist shot past Rinne for his fourth goal.

"It was not an easy game for the forwards on both sides," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "It was like a five-man attack on both sides, and obviously that created confusion on both sides."

Calgary had two minutes of a 5-on-3 power play in the second period but was unable to convert.

"I think they responded and upped their game," coach Peter Laviolette said of the Flames. "They had been playing well, from what we had scouted anyway, better than they were playing in the first period. I still think that we could have been better in the second. We ran into some penalty issues there, had to get through that. I thought the penalty kill did a good job and sometimes you can grab momentum from that, but we weren't able to seem to grab any."

Ramo made 21 saves, including 11 in the first period when Nashville controlled the play. At one point in the period, Nashville was outshooting Calgary 12-1.

"[Ramo] was real strong in the first period," Hartley said. "Nashville was by far the better team in the first period. That's where you need your goalie. [Ramo] gave us some clutch saves, and we regrouped between the first and second [periods] and we were a different team for the rest of the game."

Rinne finished with 19 saves.

Flames forward Michael Frolik left the game early in the third period with an upper-body injury and didn't return. Hartley said after the game that Frolik was being evaluated but that the injury "didn't look good."

The Flames visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday in the second of a four-game road trip. The Predators play at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

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