NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a matchup of teams heading in different directions in the Western Conference, Todd Bertuzzi’s late third-period efforts ensured that they both continued their streaks.
Bertuzzi scored with 23.4 seconds remaining in the third period to lead the Calgary Flames to their fifth straight win with a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon.
Nashville’s loss was its fourth in a row. The Predators have lost all three games against the Flames this season.
With time winding down in the third, Craig Conroy forced a turnover by Nashville defenceman Dan Hamhuis deep in the Predators’ zone. Conroy passed to Bertuzzi, and he skated toward the net from the right side and snapped a shot by Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis.
“Craig did a good job getting it down low, and fed me in the slot,” Bertuzzi said. “I was able to make a good shot. It was good to come back from behind and win again.”
“We play a second and third period like we did, and then we have one little bad play that turns out to be the game-winning goal,” Ellis said. “Those are the little things that we really need to bear down on, the errors, because that is what is costing us.”
The assist was the 500th career NHL point for the 14-year veteran Conroy.
“Five hundred points in a league that I thought I was never get to play in is probably the most rewarding thing for me,” Conroy said. “And to have it be the game-winner by Bertuzzi, what a great play by him.”
Bertuzzi also received the primary assist on Daymond Langkow’s game-tying goal at 12:46 of the third.
“His individual effort and skill to set Langkow up and then to go to the net and have the patience, the poise, and the skill to put it in the top shelf, that is just talent,” Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. “The most important thing that he showed was poise. He gave himself a lot of time to make that play.”
The teams traded first-period goals with Nashville’s Jerred Smithson opening the scoring at the 9:11 mark. Curtis Glencross answered at 18:44 for Calgary.
Smithson’s goal was his second of the season. He beat Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot.
Glencross drove from behind the Nashville net and beat Ellis with a backhand high to the stick side.
Jason Arnott broke the 1-1 tie at 11:57 of the second period.
In the left corner of the Calgary zone, Martin Erat sent a pass to J.P. Dumont at the left faceoff dot. Dumont faked a slap shot, freezing Kiprusoff in the process, and then slid a pass to Arnott skating in on the right side. Arnott put the puck into the vacated net for his 15th goal of the season.
Arnott, the Nashville captain, has three goals and two assists in three games against the Flames this season.
Calgary managed five shots on goal in the second period despite having four power plays. The Flames and Predators were both 0-for-5 on the power play.
“We played a very good team and we played hard,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s disappointing, I think we should have had one point for sure.”
Notes: Glencross was playing in his second game back after missing six with a knee injury. … Smithson’s goal was his first since Oct. 25, a 29-game drought. … After ending an 11-game stretch without a goal, Arnott has two in his past three games. … Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf has not scored a goal in his past 21 games.