Predators hold off Flames 6-5 - NBC Sports

Predators hold off Flames 6-5
APWF
Nashville Predators' Mattias Ekholm (42) of Sweden, and Calgary Flames' Mikael Backlund,of Sweden, battle along the boards during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
March 22, 2014, 12:20 am

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Shea Weber scored twice, including the go-ahead goal late in the third period, and the Nashville Predators escaped with a 6-5 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

Tied 4-4 and with the Predators on the power play, Weber took a perfect pass from Matt Cullen and blasted a high slap shot past Joey MacDonald from the faceoff dot to put Nashville back into the lead at 14:28.

Weber's 18th goal tied him with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson for second in the NHL among defensemen, one back of Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien.

Cullen added his seventh goal of the season at 17:08 on a deflection and that would turn out to be the winning goal after Mike Cammalleri's second of the game 28 seconds later set up a furious final 2 1/2 minutes for the Flames, who buzzed around the Predators net but couldn't tie it against backup goaltender Carter Hutton.

Victor Bartley, Patric Hornqvist and Viktor Stalberg scored for Nashville, which snapped a three-game losing skid, and Centre Calle Jarnkrok had an assist in his NHL debut.

Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler and Mikael Backlund also scored for Calgary, which lost for only the third time in their past dozen games at the Saddledome.

Leading 2-1 after the first period, Nashville increased its margin to two when Hornqvist batted a centering pass out of the air and past rookie goaltender Joni Ortio at 4:10.

It was the first of five goals in a wide-open, back and forth and middle period in which both starting goaltenders were pulled.

Cammalleri's eighth goal in his past 10 games drew the Flames within one at 6:23. With the puck teed up to him in the slot by Russell, Cammalleri blasted a slap shot past Pekka Rinne for his 21st goal.

Fifty-one seconds later, the game was back even with Mark Giordano's snap shot from the blue line being tipped by Hudler to tie it 3-3.

It didn't remain that way for long, however, as less than a minute later the Predators struck back on Stalberg's eighth of the season, which prompted Flames coach Bob Hartley to bring in veteran backup goaltender MacDonald.

Ortio left after giving up four goals on 13 shots.

It was just over five minutes later when Rinne joined Ortio as a spectator.

Showing hustle, Lance Bouma raced in after Brian McGrattan's dump-in and got to the puck along the end boards before Rinne was able to play it. Bouma immediately sent a pass in front that Backlund fired into the empty net with Rinne caught way out of position.

In his 33-plus minutes, Rinne stopped 14 of the 18 shots he faced.

Hutton stopped 10 of 11 shots to earn the victory and improve to 16-11-4.

MacDonald took the loss to fall to 4-4-1. He had seven saves on nine shots.

Nashville got off to a fast start, beating Ortio on both of its first two shots.

At 5:10, Bartley scored his first NHL goal, one-timing a slap shot through Ortio's pads after a nice pass from Craig Smith.

Just 49 seconds later, Weber finished off a give-and-go with Mike Fisher on an odd-man rush to make it 2-0 for the Preds.

Looking for a spark, the Flames got it just before the first ended on Russell's power-play goal with 34 seconds left in the period.

Notes: Kenny Agostino made his NHL debut for the Flames. He played left wing on a line with rookies Sean Monahan and Joe Colborne. Agostino's parents flew in from New Jersey for the game. ... Calgary RW Jiri Hudler (upper body) returned after missing seven games. ... Sidelined with upper body injuries sustained in Nashville's last game were LW Nick Spaling, RW Patrick Eaves and C Paul Gaustad. ... Agostino is the eighth player to make his NHL debut with the Flames this season.

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