Predators make habit out of late third period come-from-behind wins
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Nashville Predators trailed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 with under two minutes left in regulation. With Pekka Rinne pulled for the extra attacker, the Predators scored twice to tie the game. What looked like a third consecutive loss for Nashville became a dramatic come-from-behind overtime win.
It wasn’t the first time this season that the Predators found the back of the net late in the third period to tie the game and go on to win.
On November 5th, the Predators trailed 3-1 in the third. Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Suter scored to tie the game. Legwand scored the overtime winner for the Predators.
After playing more than 50 minutes of a scoreless game on November 15th, the Washington Capitals took a 1-0 lead at 15:14 of the final frame. The Predators responded by scoring two goals in less than four minutes from Martin Erat and Colin Wilson. Shea Weber added an empty-net tally to win the game 3-1 in regulation.
Then there was the exciting win in Vancouver on December 1. Nashville and the Canucks entered the third period tied 5-5. Mike Fisher scored with 1:16 left in regulation to give the Predators the lead and the win.
On Thursday night, the Predators did it again against Columbus.
“We trust each other,” Hornqvist said after the game when asked what explained Nashville’s ability to come from behind and win late in the game. “We have a great group of guys with a lot of great players. We just have to stick to our system, like we did today. It shows what kind of character there is in this room. We want to win so bad.”
Head Coach Barry Trotz agrees, noting the resilient nature of the club. “I use that word a lot with our team. But today, they proved that they want to play. They want to do well. We have tightened up our game in a lot of areas but we haven’t gotten any results. We are playing much better as a team. It can be really frustrating if you are playing really well as a team but aren’t getting wins. You know, it is a bad break, or an untimely turn over.”
“They have been working hard. They have been staying on point. They did it and got rewarded for it. I always tell the guys when it looks like you can’t hang on anymore, that’s when you are close to the goal. You just have to hang on longer than the other team. That’s what they did tonight,” Trotz said.
Hornqvist picked up his 8th goal of the season with 1:36 left in regulation to bring the Predators within one goal of tying the game.
“There was a scrum in front of the net,” Hornqvist explained, adding “Weber shot it, a one-timer. I picked up the rebound. I missed it the first time, but I got the second one in.”
After the goal, an unsuspecting Hornqvist was shoved into the boards by Nikita Nikitin of the Blue Jackets. There was no penalty called. However, with 1:06 left to play, Samuel Pahlsson was assessed a minor for cross-checking, giving the Predators a 6-on-4 man advantage with Rinne still on the bench for the extra attacker.
Sergei Kostitsyn scored his fourth goal of the season with only 13 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 3-3. Just 1:45 into overtime, Wilson ended the game for Nashville.
Hornqvist hopes the win will motivate the team moving forward. “This was huge for us. We’ve been struggling lately. Four minutes to go we had a penalty kill and were down two goals. Five minutes later we won the game. We really needed this one. We worked really hard for this one. That’s how we have to play every single night.”
Nashville next plays on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena when the Anaheim Ducks make their second and final regular season appearance in Music City.
Photo credit: Getty Images