For the fourth time in five games, the Predators had to climb out of a three-goal hole. In this instance, they were able to come all the way back to take the lead thanks to a Filip Forsberg hat trick, but fell to the Calgary Flames 6-5 in overtime.
In the first period, the Predators weren’t struggling entirely, but the Flames came in hot, blitzing Pekka Rinne for three goals on their first six shots on goal. Dougie Hamilton added one more to put Calgary up 4-1 early in the second period.
“We continued with that same mindset, I don’t think that we flipped anything in the second period,” he said. “We just continued to try and do what we wanted to do. They might have sat back a little bit, and that was enough to get us back in the hockey game.”
In that second period, Forsberg netted a hat trick and Colin Wilson added his second goal in three games to give the Predators the lead. They clung to that lead until Mikael Backlund slipped by the Predators defense and put the puck by Juuse Saros to tie the game. Mark Giordano would add the game-winner in overtime for Calgary.
For defenseman P.K. Subban, who was on the ice for Backlund’s tying goal, the Predators’ comeback effort came down to one word: persistence.
“We’ve always been a persistent team, and regardless of the score, we just always want to get better as the game goes on,” Subban said. “I thought we did that, but like I said, just I’ve got to make a better play, and maybe we win the game.”
Subban had a goal in the first period to tie the game at one aside, and had a secondary assist on Wilson’s power play goal in the second period. Those two points gave him a total of five in the three games since the Predators returned from the league-mandated week off.
However, his individual effort was not on his mind after the game.
“It doesn’t really matter, you know,” he said. “We’re trying to get wins here. I think everybody is just trying to do their job, and I’m just trying to do my part.”
In the past, the Predators have found themselves down three goals simply due to a lack of effort. Last Saturday, the Predators found themselves down 5-2 to the Florida Panthers before losing 7-4. Laviolette called the team’s effort in that game “gross.”
Tuesday night, Laviolette didn’t see it quite the same way.
“You know me, I’m pretty honest,” he said. “If I thought the effort wasn’t right or things weren’t the way they were supposed to be, I’d admit it and tell them and tell you the same thing. I don’t think that was the case tonight. I think that Calgary’s got a good hockey team, they’re fighting for the playoffs, but I thought our guys showed up and were ready to go to work in the first period. It just didn’t bounce our way.”
By earning a point in the standings with the overtime loss, the Predators sit a point ahead of the Flames for the top Wild Card spot, three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, and two points behind the St. Louis Blues for the third spot in the Central Division.
According to Subban, that point came about from their persistence.
“We fought and clawed our way back into the game, and I felt that we did a lot of good things today, and probably enough to win the hockey game that maybe we didn’t deserve to win in the first period,” he said. “We did a lot of good things to put ourselves in a position to win it, and we just didn’t get it done.”
The Predators continue their four-game homestand on Thursday when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena.