A strong start by the Predators- Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson specifically- couldn't contain the Flames' third period rally, which eventually carried them to a 6-5 overtime win.
The Preds lead overwhelmingly in shots in the first and second periods, peppering 27 on David Rittich in those 40 minutes. And it showed; they took a commanding 4-1 lead going into the third. And then it all fell apart.
Nick Bonino, with his fourth consecutive goal, got things started early for the Preds. With a nifty little no-look backhand, Bonino converted a Craig Smith rebound that crossed Rittich and slid into the net. Ryan Ellis nabbed the secondary assist. A handful of minutes later, Watson tacked on his first of the night with a dead-center one-timer on a feed from Colton Sissons. Matt Irwin, and I can't believe I'm saying this, got the secondary assist on the goal. At the time of Watson's goal, Calgary had yet to record a single shot. With about five minutes remaining in the first period, the Flames' Derek Ryan capitalized on a netfront entanglement and roofed one over a heavily-screened Pekka Rinne. It was just Calgary's second shot of the night.
The second period was an incredibly strong one for the Preds, and it looked as if we had it in the bag with how well every line was doing. On two separate Preds' penalty kills, Jarnkrok and Watson teamed up to score two shorthanded goals. The first came on a clutch poke check in the defensive zone by Watson, who stole a pass from Sean Monahan and created an odd-man rush with Jarnkrok. Watson passed to Jarnkrok, who toe-dragged past a diving Mark Giordano and clanged one off Rittich's roof. Jarnkrok's other SHG came during a Kyle Turris goaltender interference penalty. After an incredible diving poke check by Watson at the blue line, Jarnkrok faked a pass to Josi and fired it top shelf to give the Preds the 4-1 lead.
Rasmus Andersson halved the Preds' lead early in the third, and it began to feel like momentum had shifted Calgary's direction for the remaining minutes. With about six minutes remaining in regulation, Elias Lindholm put the Flames within one after a pass from Monahan behind the net. Three minutes later, Alan Quine tied the game at four-all, beating Rinne on his glove side. Watson gave the Preds the lead again after rushing into the zone with Sissons and easily dumping in the puck past an out-of-crease Rittich. Mattias Ekholm recorded the secondary assist. That should have been the game-winner, but it wasn't. Matthew Tkachuk, notorious Predators pest, tapped one past Rinne to knot things up with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
It's already been fully shoved down our throats about 18 hours later, but Tkachuk won it for the Flames on a crafty spinning goal from his knees in overtime.
The Preds have so far been pretty good about not collapsing late in the game with a multi-goal lead this season, but tonight was one of those truly embarrassing implosions. Giving up a 3-goal lead happens fairly often in the NHL, but it's never acceptable to be the team who surrenders those goals. The Preds were on a four-game win streak and still managed to squeak a point out of the debacle, but they'll need to put this one behind them before Saturday.
Watson finished the night with two goals, two assists, and a +2 rating. Preds' scoring leader Ryan Ellis recorded zero shots on goal the entire game. The first line was noticeably stymied last night; between Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, and a newly-returned Filip Forsberg, the JOFA line combined for a -4 rating. Rinne, after two consecutive shutouts, backslid and gave up six goals on 27 shots for a .778 save percentage.