Three-goal third period propels Flames past Predators
Johnny Gaudreau sparked a third-period comeback with a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames scored three times in just more than 4 minutes to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 Friday night.
With the Flames trailing 2-1, Jiri Hudler got the rally started with the tying goal 2:36 into the third. It came on a setup from rookies Markus Granlund and Gaudreau.
After TJ Brodie’s pass deflected in off Predators defenseman Shea Weber to give the Flames the lead at 4:23, Calgary went ahead by two goals 2 minutes after that.
Gaudreau darted down the left wing and after the 5-foot-9 rookie showed good strength in fending off the stick check of Craig Smith, he whipped a shot from a bad angle that beat Pekka Rinne over his shoulder.
After beginning the season with no points in his first five games, a stretch that culminated in him being a healthy scratch, Gaudreau has two goals and four assists in his last six games.
Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames (6-4-2), who finished 2-1-2 on their homestand. They begin a five-game road trip Sunday night in Montreal.
James Neal paced the offense for Nashville (6-2-2) with two goals — his sixth and seventh of the season. Smith also scored for the Predators, who have split the first two games of a six-game road swing. Their longest trip of the season continues Sunday in Vancouver.
The banged-up Flames were without three of their top centers in Mikael Backlund (abdominal strain), Matt Stajan (knee) and Joe Colborne (upper body). They joined Mason Raymond (shoulder), who is also sidelined.
With the score tied 1-all in the second period, Neal gave Nashville its first lead of the night at 11:09. Mike Ribeiro beat Monahan on a faceoff, pulling the puck back to Neal at the top of the circle. His quick shot through several sets of legs beat Jonas Hiller, who didn’t appear to see it.
Neal and Ribeiro, who leads the team in points, were both acquired last summer by Predators general manager David Poile in an attempt to generate more offense for his team, which finished 19th in scoring last season while missing the playoffs by three points.
Monahan opened the scoring at 4:23 of the second by banging in Dennis Wideman’s rebound for his third of the season.
The lead lasted only 67 seconds before Smith corralled a loose puck in front of the Calgary net and beat Hiller.
Hiller finished with 28 saves and improved to 3-2-1 this season. The veteran goalie made his second straight start for Calgary — coach Bob Hartley had been rotating Hiller and Karri Ramo.
Rinne gave up a season-high four goals on 30 shots and fell to 6-2-1.
NOTES: Brodie’s four goals match his career high. … The game marked the NHL debut of Flames LW Michael Ferland and the season debut for Granlund. … Ferland (upper body) left late in the second and did not return after a hit by Anton Volchenkov. … RW Devin Setoguchi and RW Brian McGrattan were back in Calgary’s lineup. They had been healthy scratches for the last four and five games, respectively.