The Calgary Flames made it a clean sweep of the Nashville Predators for the season with a 3-2 come from behind win Sunday night at the Saddledome.
The Predators led 2-1 at the end of the first period and Coach Brent Sutter must have pealed the paint during the first intermission as the Flames responded and dominated the last 40 minutes of play, outshooting the Preds 27-14 and holding Nashville scoreless. The Flames received goals from Mark Giordano, Jerome Iginla, and Curtis Glencross while the Preds’ offense came from Marty Erat and Ryan Suter.
Mikka Kiprusoff stopped 21 of 23 Nashville shots and improved his career record against the Preds to 14-9-2 in getting the victory. Pekka Rinne remains win-less against Calgary extending his losing streak streak to six with a 0-4-2 record against the Flames. Rinne gave up three goals on 36 shots.
The opening period got off to a rip roaring start with Olli Jokinen hitting the post with a slapshot 14 seconds into the contest. Play continued at a furious pace and at 2:47 Jon Blum fired a shot at the net that rebounded off Kiprusoff and Erat was able to corral the puck and put into the net to make it 1-0 Predators.
The Flames came back on a fluke goal at 7:17 when Shea Weber tipped a floating puck that got past Rinne to make it 1-1. Giordano was credited with the freebie power play goal.
The Predators continued their strong early play when Erat took the puck behind the Flames net and centered it to Suter in the right faceoff circle and he put it past Kiprusoff at 15:58 to give the Preds their final lead at 2-1.
The first period ended with the shots tied at nine a piece. That was the closest the Predators would be for the remainder of the game.
History was made early in the second period when Sergei Kostitsyn was called for hooking Iginla on a breakaway 59 seconds into the period. A penalty shot was called and Iginla went five-hole on Rinne to tie the game 2-2. It was his 30th goal of the season and he became the tenth player in NHL history to score 30 goals in ten consecutive seasons.
The Flames continued to dominate play into the final period when at 10:23 in the third, the Flames had a series where they put repeated pressure on Rinne and Glencross finally lifted it above Rinne who was laying across the crease to put Calgary ahead for good.
The Predators played at a frantic pace down the stretch but Calgary matched them stride for stride and showed why they are one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference the second half the season. With the loss, the Predators fell to eleventh place remaining at 75 points. Minnesota lost in a shootout to Buffalo to gain a point and move ahead of Nashville as well as Anaheim who was blanked by the Canucks, 3-0.
The Predators now head to San Jose to play the Sharks on Tuesday night to end the final road trip of the year.