Austin Watson and Calle Jarnkrok each tallied twice, but it wasn’t enough as the Calgary Flames came back to beat the Nashville Predators in overtime, 6-5, on Halloween at Bridgestone Arena. The result gives the Preds a point in the standings but ends their winning streak at four games.
Nashville had a 4-1 lead entering the third period, but the Flames scored three to tie things up with less than four minutes to play in regulation. It looked as though the Preds would escape defeat when Watson tallied his second of the night with just over a minute remaining in the third, but Calgary evened the score with 39 seconds left. Matthew Tkachuk won it with two seconds left in overtime.
“We played a good first and then went downhill from there,” Preds Associate Captain Ryan Ellis said. “We got comfortable and kind of quit playing once when we got up. They’re a resilient team, that’s not the first time they’ve done that to us, when they climb back with a two- or three-goal lead. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t pick up our end of it.”
“They were quicker than us and played a game that put the puck behind us for a lot of the second period,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “In the third period, they did the same thing. We were good in the first period because we got the puck behind them and we went to work in the offensive zone. You spend that much time in the defensive zone, they’ve got some players on that team that can really hurt you, and they did.”
Watson did his best to give the Preds a chance, and he added two assists for the first four-point game of his career. Plus, the Predators announced a three-year contract for Watson during the second period of the contest to keep him in Nashville through the 2022-23 season.
“It’s a special day for me and my family,” Watson said. “At points last year I wasn’t really quite sure of where my career was going or if it was going to continue. To have some job security here, just super grateful for the organization, the guys. I’ve been through a lot and they’ve been through a lot with me. This is definitely a good day.”
Nick Bonino continued his reign as Nashville’s leading goal scorer when he potted his fourth-consecutive marker after Tuesday’s hat trick – and seventh overall – to give the Preds a 1-0 lead in the first. Watson’s first came five minutes later, and although the Flames got one before the period ended, the home team took advantage on the penalty kill in the second.
Watson’s quick one-timer
00:56 • October 31, 2019
Jarnkrok’s first of the evening came while the Preds were shorthanded at 4:36 of the middle frame, and then he did it again before the period was out with an almost identical tally, also down by a man. The Swede became just the second player in franchise history to score two shorthanded goals in the same game, joining Predators Director of Player Development and Milwaukee Admirals General Manager Scott Nichol.
“He’s been great this year shooting the puck,” Ellis said of Jarnkrok. “He’s got a heck of a shot and he put those right upstairs, they were great.”
But in the third, the Flames scored four, and Watson’s second wasn’t enough to hold them off before Tkachuk tied the game and then won it.
“It’s a game that we put ourselves in a great position to win,” Ellis said. “The last three or four games that we’ve really started to play the brand of hockey we wanted, and tonight was a step back, but we’ll address the issues and move on.”
Nashville will get back to work on Friday in preparation for a chance to erase the fruition when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon (at 1 p.m. CT).
“We can’t sit on our heels in the third period when we have a lead,” Watson said. “It’s probably not the first time we’ve talked about it and hopefully it’s the last, but I doubt it will be. It happens. It’s not fun. It’s not very exciting right now the way that game ended, but we will learn from it and we will move forward.”
Filip Forsberg returned to the lineup after missing six games with a lower-body injury.
Pekka Rinne extended his season-opening point streak to nine games tonight (7-0-2 record) to pass Tomas Vokoun (7-0-1 in 2005-06) for the Preds franchise record.
Nashville’s three-game homestand concludes on Saturday afternoon when the New York Rangers come to town for Hockey Fights Cancer Day.
Prior to Saturday’s game on the Fifth & Broad building across the street from the Bridgestone Arena Plaza, the Predators will reveal their jersey for the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic to be played against the Dallas Stars at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. A 60-foot by 80-foot banner will be hung on the building between 10-11 a.m.