March 16, 2004: Adam Hall scores with 22 seconds left to earn tie in Vancouver
With every point being precious in their drive to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, forward Adam Hall scored with 22 seconds left in regulation while goaltender Tomas Vokoun was pulled for an extra attacker, to salvage a point and a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
The point gave Nashville 80 with nine games left in the regular season, equaling a franchise record at the time and moving them into a seventh-place tie with St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, one point ahead of ninth-place Los Angeles.
"Maybe this one tie is going to be the point that puts us over the edge and into the playoffs," Hall said. "Hindsight is 20-20, you sit down after the season and say, `If we just had a tie here or a win here it would have been the difference.' You really never can tell until the very end."
The tie was part of seven road games in the final 10 contests of the 2003-04 season, and sparked a 5-3-2 run to end the 82-game schedule, enough to edge out ninth-place Edmonton for the eighth and final playoff berth.
March 18, 2006: Preds beat Calgary 9-4 at Bridgestone Arena
With this crucial, late-season intraconference matchup tied 4-4 midway through the game, the Nashville Predators poured it on, scoring five unanswered goals to tie a franchise record with a 9-4 victory. The two other times a Nashville team has scored nine goals in a single outing were on March 4, 2004, at Pittsburgh and Nov. 18, 2014, at Toronto.
"We've talked about expecting the unexpected a little bit," former Preds Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "We've always had a 2-1, 3-2 sort of game with Calgary. Obviously that's not really what happened tonight. It was sort of whoever would get the last power play would win the game, it seemed like."
Mike Sillinger led the offensive assault, tallying four assists, two of which came on the power play, which finished the evening 3-for-9. Three other Preds notched three-point games, led by Paul Kariya’s two goals and an assist.
It was a typical wild affair between the two squads, featuring countless scrums and a pair of bouts. The turning point ultimately came due to bad blood, when Calgary’s Chris Simon was sent off for five minutes with an intent to injure penalty after cross-checking Darcy Hordichuk in the face at 14:12 of the second. The Predators tallied a pair of power-play goals with Simon in the box, starting the rally.
"He recognized that Simon wanted to get something involved with him," Trotz said of Hordichuk. "Obviously, Simon did it and he got called on it. That was a big turning point. After that, I thought we stayed to the game plan and we accomplished what we wanted to do."
The nine-goal outburst gave the Predators a clean sweep in four games against Calgary during the 2005-06 season, and was the eighth of a 10-game stretch where the Preds went 8-0-2 en route to their best finish in franchise history.
March 20, 2011 – Geoffrion’s improbable hat trick
Less than one month after becoming the first Tennessee native, and first fourth-generation NHLer to appear in the League, Brentwood native Blake Geoffrion became the youngest player in franchise history to notch a hat trick in his 11th career game at Buffalo. Geoffrion scored all three of Nashville’s regulation goals as the Predators moved into a fifth-place tie in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
Geoffrion’s first goal came at 6:44 in the first period. Geoffrion began the play with a successful poke check at the top of the defensive zone that kicked the puck to J-P Dumont, who then rushed the biscuit back toward the offensive zone. Dumont passed to Colin Wilson near the blue line, with Wilson hitting a wide-open Geoffrion who threw the puck toward the net, eventually deflecting in off of goaltender Ryan Miller’s back and into the cage for Nashville’s first goal.
After three consecutive Sabres markers, Geoffrion netted his second and third goals to tie the game late in the third period. He cut the Sabres lead to 3-2 with 2:27 left in regulation when he capitalized on Andrej Sekera’s turnover at the side of the Buffalo net and jammed the puck inside the right post. Geoffrion then tied the game just 62 seconds later, as the Predators pulled goalie Anders Lindback for an extra attacker. The rookie won the faceoff to the right of the Sabres net, and Nashville worked the puck to Cody Franson, who fired a shot from the right point that was deflected by Geoffrion, handcuffing Miller and forcing overtime.
Martin Erat capped the comeback with the game-winner at 0:27 of sudden death.
"We stole that one," former Predators bench boss Barry Trotz said. "It was looking pretty bleak, then all of a sudden we stayed with it."
March 20, 2004: Preds beat Calgary in 3-1 fight fest at the Saddledome
When former Calgary Head Coach Darryl Sutter sent out a rugged foursome to take the final faceoff of the game after the Predators had iced the contest with an empty netter, former Preds coach Barry Trotz knew exactly what was about to ensue.
"They had four guys out there to do something," Trotz said. "Obviously, that's premeditated. You look over and Darryl's talking to Oliwa, and he's got Regehr taking the draw. I just told our guys to back off.”
Mayhem erupted soon thereafter, and when it was all said and done, referees Bill McCreary and Kelly Sutherland had handed out 25 penalties totaling 138 penalty minutes – 101 of which went to Flames skaters.
Several skirmishes took place simultaneously in the final 2.9 seconds, including one between the goalies, Tomas Vokoun and Miikka Kiprusoff. Greg Johnson and Scott Hartnell also dropped the gloves for the Predators, while Flames assistant coach Rich Preston and Trotz could be seen angrily yelling at each other from their respective benches.
“Those were incidents in the past that stirred some anger,” Trotz said when reflecting on the game. “We’ve had some memorable games with them – there have been some scraps and incidents that have made both teams very competitive.”
Hartnell provided a goal with just one second remaining in the first period to tie the game at 1-1, and Martin Erat scored the game winner at the 17:45 mark of the second. Those goals, paired with Sergei Zholtok’s empty netter, gave the Preds a 3-1 victory, starting a streak of eight-straight wins against the Flames.