With hardly any time to spare, the Nashville Predators got it done.
Calle Jarnkrok scored shorthanded with 1.5 seconds remaining in overtime to defeat the Vancouver Canucks by a 2-1 final at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night, the latest regular season OT goal in club history. The win gives the Preds a 18-16-7 mark overall and their first overtime victory of the season.
After Roman Josi put the puck in the net early in OT, only to have it waved off for incidental contact with the goaltender by Viktor Arvidsson, Nashville regrouped and found another way.
"We just knew we had to stick with it," forward Austin Watson said. "There's only two ways to go about it. You either keep working or just kind of give up, and we're not going to do that. We know we have to battle and find a way; like I said, it's kind of fitting that it ended that way."
Better Late Than Never:
Video: VAN@NSH: Jarnkrok nets shorthanded game-winner in OT
The Preds held a 1-0 lead until the 19:11 mark of the third period, and they could've easily ended up on the wrong side of the ledger. But instead, Calle Jarnkrok's goal at 4:58 of overtime came with 1.5 seconds to spare on the clock, setting a franchise record for the latest regular season OT goal in club history.
Jarnkrok became the only player in Preds history to score a shorthanded goal in the extra session, taking a pass from Roman Josi on a 2-on-0 break with almost no time to spare.
"There was enough time to score a goal," Jarnkrok laughed. "I saw that the puck was bobbling a little bit. I wasn't sure if Roman was going to shoot it or not, but he gave me an open net, so I'd like to say thanks to Josi."
"It was a good spot for him," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Jarnkrok's goal. "He's been [practicing on the] 3-on-3 and in games on the 3-on-3. That turns into a penalty kill. At that point, you're putting the penalty killers on the ice, and he's a guy that we rely on in those situations… It was nice to see them get out of there after that blocked shot and get down the ice."
Milestone Game, Clutch Score:
Video: VAN@NSH: Watson slams puck home to open the scoring
Austin Watson accomplished something in game Nos. 99 and 100 of his NHL career that he never had before.
Skating in his 100th game on Tuesday night, Watson deposited the puck into a yawning cage just 35 seconds into the second period to give the Preds the game's opening goal. Nashville hasn't lost in regulation this season when getting on the board first.
"I think just confidence; the coaches have instilled a lot of confidence in me," Watson said. "They've put me in a lot of situations and the individual goes as the team goes. When we're rolling, everybody is rolling here and we just like to see more of the same."
For Watson, the goals are important, but that's hardly the only thing he's doing well these days on a nightly basis.
"I think he's getting a really good opportunity," Laviolette said. "I think the role has changed just a little bit in the sense that he's playing with [Captain Mike Fisher] and taking on more minutes outside of a checking role and a defensive role. I think they did a terrific job against Vancouver's top line tonight.
"Ever since he came back, he's been playing fast, he's been playing physical for us, he's been chipping in on offense, and he's going to the hard areas in the paint where he's scoring goals now."
Rinne Gets It Done:
Video: VAN@NSH: Rinne robs H. Sedin with outstanding effort
It's hardly a surprise anymore when Pekka Rinne puts forth a performance like the one he did on Tuesday, but it's still a pleasure to see. With the exception of one blemish, Rinne turned aside 29 of the 30 Canucks shots that came his way. The netminder has now given up two goals or less in three of his last four starts.
"Pekka was unbelievable," defenseman Yannick Weber said. "You almost take it for granted some nights. I feel like every night he has big saves and sometimes we rely a bit too much on him. He has been unbelievable all year. I think he's been our MVP all year, and I'm really thankful to have a goalie like him."
"Playing at home, having an opportunity to win the game and get two points, I think that was the main thing," Rinne said. Tonight was a low-scoring, low-event game - but as a goalie, I like that."
The Preds have earned at least one point in six of the last seven games against the Canucks (5-1-1) and have at least a point in four consecutive home games versus Vancouver (3-0-1).
Mike Fisher is now one assist away from 300 in his NHL career.
Prior to Tuesday's game, the Preds reassigned forward Vladislav Kamenev to Milwaukee and recalled forward Pontus Aberg from the Admirals. Aberg skated 11:10 of ice time and saw 54 seconds on the power play.
The Preds host Boston on Thursday to finish up a quick home stand before they head back on the road, starting Saturday afternoon at Colorado.