The Nashville Predators wrapped up a three-game home stand with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.
The home team tied the game late in the second frame, but the third period moxie present for the Predators in their first two contests did not make an appearance against the Flames. Nashville had a combined six goals in the final periods of in their first two games, but were held scoreless tonight.
A goal-saving clear by Nashville center Derek Roy in the second period helped the Preds pick up one point and remain unbeaten in regulation, however.
Midway through the second, Roy swept the puck off the Nashville goal line as it was headed into a wide-open cage. The desperation swipe proved to be a point-saving moment for the club as the Preds managed to tie the contest later in the same period off of Mike Ribeiro’s rebound score. The near goal would have put the Flames ahead 3-1.
“I saw the puck slowly going in and I thought Pekka’s stick was there, but I don’t think he saw the puck and I just took my stick and saved a goal for us,” Roy said. “That’s just what you have to do in those situations.”
“It’s a great play by Roy to knock that one away; we needed that one in the end,” Predators captain Shea Weber said. “But the [Flames] did a good job tonight against us. We didn’t match them early and we had some good stretches, but it wasn’t enough.”
The Predators scored in the opening frame for the first time in 2014-15, but weren’t able to enjoy their lead for long.
Calgary’s T.J. Brodie sent a backhand feed that deflected off of Nashville defenseman Anton Volchenkov’s stick and into the upper portions of the net, just 75 seconds after the Preds had initially tallied.
Despite scoring an early goal for the first time this season, the Predators found themselves in a familiar place: trailing in the second-half of a contest. Ribeiro’s first goal as a member of the Preds tied the game with 4:50 remaining in the middle period, but Nashville did not manage a go-ahead score for the remainder of regulation and overtime.
“It’s good to score an early goal if the process is right, but for me getting that [early goal] is not what I’m looking for. I’m looking at how we play the game. That is an area we needed to be better in, but I would have traded the first goal for a better process,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I have to give Calgary credit, they came in here and played a hard-working game and got the two points.”
Flames netminder Karri Ramo’s sprawling glove stop on Craig Smith’s chance in the third was a big reason the Preds could not find another goal.
“He deserves the win because of the huge save on the 2-on-1 in the third period that would have been the difference, and then three big saves during the shootout,” Calgary Head Coach Bob Hartley said. “Both goalies are giving us a chance to win and that’s why we feel good. We can go on the attack and take a few chances. Those guys bail us out.”
After a scoreless extra period, the Predators elected to shoot first in the shootout. Ramo stopped all three Preds shooters while Joe Colborne tucked a backhander past Rinne for the session’s only goal.
“He made a bunch of moves coming in and got me out of position,” Rinne said. “At that point it’s just something where you have to try and out reach him and I didn’t. The shootout has been something we need to get better on and we will as the season goes on.”
“I love having the puck on my stick and there’s no better feeling than knowing that the game could be on the line,” Colborne said. “Some guys like that, I’m one of them. I’m fortunate that the coaches trust me and put me out there, but again, it’s more about Karri shutting the door.”
The shootout win pushes the Flames record to 2-2-0. Nashville now stands at 2-0-1 and will play in their first road game of the campaign in Winnipeg on Friday.