Kris Russell scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Nashville Predators fell to the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds earned a point in the defeat, moving their record to 15-10-6 on the season.
After scoring in the opening frame, Nashville had a difficult time finding their offense again, a fact that was frustrating for the club.
“You want to have consistency in your game, and we just don’t have that right now,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “Tonight was an example. We played really well in the first and then didn’t play as well in the second. It’s a 1-1 game in the third period and we have to play to win. We have to go for that second goal and try to win the game, and I don’t think we’re doing that right now. We’re just kind of getting frustrated and not playing the same way as we did in the first period… It’s just too inconsistent.”
At the 5:09 mark of the first period, Preds forward Cody Hodgson was awarded his first-career penalty shot, and the winger converted, beating Karri Ramo low to the glove side for a 1-0 Nashville lead.
TJ Brodie evened the contest for the Flames when he scored at 12:28 of the second stanza, but the Predators penalty kill also negated a full two minutes of a 5-on-3 power play opportunity for Calgary, in addition to thwarting another Flames opportunity late in regulation.
Just 1:23 into the 3-on-3 overtime, Russell finished off a 2-on-1 opportunity, beating Pekka Rinne to secure the victory for the Flames.
“We have to take care of business before we even get to 3-on-3,” Hodgson said. “It’s frustrating right now, the way we played in the first period, to not be able to stay consistent, but we have to figure out ways to beat these teams and move up in the standings.”
It’s on to St. Louis on Thursday for the Preds, a Central Division contest that carries even greater importance in the standings, and an opportunity the Predators would prefer to seize.
“At the end of the day, if you’re going to get out of this slump, you have to stay positive,” Rinne said. “You have to believe in what you do and believe in your teammates… it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself or feel down after the game and keep losing, but we are right in the mix and it’s a long season.
“[We have to] go to St. Louis, win that game and try to build some kind of stretch here and feel good about ourselves going into Christmas break.”
Gif of the Game:
Pekka Rinne makes two point-blank saves from his knees.
Head Coach Peter Laviolette on looking at the big picture of the season:
“There’s no question it’s a long season and there’s always stretches, but you hate to hang onto that too long. You hate to say tomorrow’s going to be a better day, and if you say it enough times, you’ll find yourself out of the playoffs. You have to find wins at the end of the day. There are things we could have done better in the second and third periods and we let a point slip away tonight.”
Cody Hodgson’s goal was Nashville’s first penalty shot goal since Oct. 18, 2013, when Eric Nystrom beat Josh Harding in a 3-2 Preds win over Minnesota.
The Preds head to St. Louis for a Central Division matchup with the Blues on Thursday before returning home to host Minnesota on Saturday and Montreal on Monday prior to the Christmas break.