Flames leave Preds in wake

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- Looking like they napped through much of the first and second periods, the Calgary Flames admitted they usually are at that time of day.

"It was our first afternoon game in a long time, so it takes a while to get the body warmed up," said winger Todd Bertuzzi, who set up the tying goal in the latter half of the third period, then scored the winner himself with 24 seconds left in regulation to give the Flames a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators.

"What time was the third period at? I woke up at 3:30, so it was a long nap."

Bertuzzi wasn't alone.

The Predators grabbed the lead in the first period when Radek Bonk muscled defenceman Robyn Regehr off the puck behind the net and set up former Calgary Hitmen forward Jerred Smithson 9:11 into the game.

Displaying quick hands to push the puck from forehand to backhand, Curtis Glencross tied things up with a little more than a minute to play in the opening frame.

It was a brief but important snap from their slumber as the Flames fought to keep it close.

They were dominated in the second period despite playing much of it with the man-advantage. Garnering most of the scoring chances even while shorthanded, the Preds grabbed the momentum and the lead when Jason Arnott tapped in his 15th of the season on a setup from J-P Dumont and Martin Erat, who had just exited the penalty box after serving the second of back-to-back minors.

"It seemed like (the powerplay) kind of got worse as the game went on," said Langkow, who took a pass from Bertuzzi behind the net and mimicked Glencross to score a nearly identical goal and tie things up with less than eight minutes to go. "A tight game like that, you want to try and help the team out and get a powerplay goal.

"But it worked out."

That doesn't mean the Flames' powerplay specialists weren't frustrated by their oh-for-five performance.

"We're trying to stay positive," said Bertuzzi. "We're pretty pi--ed off we didn't get it done. But at the same time, you just keep pushing and pushing and pushing, you'll get it done. We've been pretty resilient."

As reporters were writing it up as a loss in the press box, the Flames kept their cool.

"That's one thing you notice on our bench. We're pretty calm," Bertuzzi said. "We don't have guys panicking and snapping or whatever."

Overcoming another deficit at the Sommet Center -- they came back from a two-goal gap in the third for a 5-3 win here in October -- the Flames also overcame their first afternoon challenge.

Part of the obstacle is simply choosing what to eat.

"Your body's just so used to playing (at night). You really only get one good meal in before the games," said Langkow, who now has 11 goals on the season. "You try to decide whether to have breakfast or lunch. Maybe have a little bit of both."

Langkow went with the omelette.

"I like my breakfasts."


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