A three-goal rally in the third period left the Nashville Predators wanting a little bit more on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre. The Preds erased a 4-1 deficit and forced the game to overtime, but Anothony Duclair netted his 20th of the season to give the Senators a 5-4 win.
Nashville's record stands at 2-0-1 on their four-game road trip, which concludes on Saturday in Boston. Their comeback against the Sens to claim a point in the standings is a semi-positive note in the midst of a potentially season-defining road trip whose success will largely be determined in the finale against the Bruins.
"We were humming along in the first played our game, and then we relaxed, and you can't relax against a team that works hard," Preds Associate Captain Ryan Ellis said. "They came back, they battled hard. In the third period, I thought we showed some character, but we have to stay on it. We are in a hole right now that only we can dig ourselves out of, and the last two games were steps, and the third period tonight was good, we got a point, but at the end of the day we need every point we can get."
Nashville scored the game's first goal for the seventh consecutive time, as Craig Smith potted his third in two games to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage through 20 minutes. However, the middle stanza saw goals from Colin White, Vladislav Namestnikov and Artem Anisimov as Ottawa took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
Video: NSH@OTT: Smith opens scoring on deft backhander
"I don't think we were very good in the second period, and we probably cost ourselves a point in that period," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "The first was OK, we fought hard in the third to come back, but in the second period we need to be a lot better."
The contest seemed out of reach for a moment when a power-play goal lifted the Senators to a 4-1 advantage only 80 seconds into the third period. Credit must be given to Rocco Grimaldi for not allowing the Predators to go away quietly. The forward forced a puck into the net - just 15 seconds after Brady Tkachuk's goal - to pull the visitors back to within two.
Video: NSH@OTT: Grimaldi follows through on own rebound
After Grimaldi's sixth of the season set a career high, Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi worked to even the game in a four-minute span. A puck went off Johansen's skates at 9:39, and Josi carved up the Sens' defense en route to a highlight-reel goal to knot the scoreboard, 4-4, at 13:07. "That was outstanding," Ellis said of Josi's goal. "It was a special goal from a special player. He's really coming into his own, and he's a joy to play with and a joy to watch. He's our captain for a reason."
Video: NSH@OTT: Josi goes coast-to-coast to tie it
In the extra session, it was a Senators power-play chance that ended the opportunity at a storybook ending for the Predators. With Calle Jarnkrok in the box for holding, Duclair rifled a one-timed strike home for Ottawa's 10th home victory of the season.
The loss leaves the Preds taking solace in the fact they fought back to earn one point in the standings, but they ultimately came to Ottawa for two.
"It's a huge point for us, but at the same time, we've got to realize that we have to play for 60 minutes," Josi said. "We can't take periods off, and I thought we did in the second. It's just not going to get you a lot of wins in this League."
"We got a point, but we need two points in every game," Ellis said. "Looking back after a bad second period, that's totally preventable. Getting that point is big, but we're here for two, and it's time we take two all the time."
Video: Predators, 4 - Senators, 5
Kyle Turris assisted on Craig Smith's goal to record his 400th point in the NHL.
Mikael Granlund (lower-body, day-to-day) and Viktor Arvidsson (Injured Reserve) both participated in Thursday's morning skate in Ottawa but did not play against the Senators.
Nashville's four-game road trip concludes on Saturday night in Boston (at 6 p.m. CT) before the Preds return home to host Arizona two nights before Christmas.