NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Predators were overdue for an overtime win, and they got one in dramatic fashion.
Calle Jarnkrok scored a short-handed goal with 1.5 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Predators to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
With time ticking down in the extra period, Roman Josi blocked a shot from Troy Stecher just outside the crease of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Josi immediately took possession of the puck and went up ice on a two-man rush with Jarnkrok and Stecher furiously skating in pursuit. In the low slot, Josi slid a pass to his right, where Jarnkrok was there to one-time the puck past Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller.
“I thought he was going to shoot it,” Jarnkrok said. “He put it right on my tape. He made a great pass to me.”
Prior to Tuesday, Nashville was 2-16 in overtime since the NHL moved to the 3-on-3 format prior to last season. They had lost their first four games decided in that fashion this season.
Since Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm was penalized late in overtime, the Canucks had a 4-on-3 advantage on the ice when the game-winner was scored.
“I thought at the start of the year we were going to win on the power play, but it just hasn’t gone so far,” Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. “I think that it’s a tough order for Stecher to come out of college and be running a power play; that’s a big step for him. He’s doing a good job but that’s a big step.”
Vancouver entered Tuesday with the NHL’s 27th ranked power play at 14.1%. They were 0 for 3 with the man advantage and allowed the one short-handed goal.
Austin Watson had the other Nashville goal and Rinne finished with 29 saves for the Predators, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
“I liked the way we competed and worked, especially in the first two periods,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought they showed a good push in the third period. We ended up having to play defence and got some big saves from our goaltender.”
Brandon Sutter had the lone goal for Vancouver, losers of two-straight following their season-high six-game winning streak. Miller made 24 saves.
With under a minute left in the third and Miller pulled in favour of an extra attacker, Nashville’s Colton Sissons carried the puck up ice, but Vancouver’s Alex Edler knocked it loose, and it was picked up by Sven Baertschi. Baertschi sent Sutter the other way, and at the right faceoff dot, he snapped a wrist shot between Rinne’s pads.
“We had a lot of good things, we played a hard game,” Sutter said. “We come back and get that goal late then into overtime, we didn’t get a chance to bury them. It just goes that way sometimes. 3-on-3 is always exciting but when we get that extra advantage, we want to try to bury it. It just didn’t work out that way.”
Watson scored the game’s first goal 35 seconds into the second period. From the left point, Mike Fisher’s shot ricocheted off of the end boards and came to Watson in the lower part of the right faceoff circle. With Miller on the other side as a result of Fisher’s chance, Watson corralled the puck and put it into the vacated net for his third of the season.
Watson has scored in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
The loss snapped Miller’s five-game winning streak.
After Josi blocked the shot in overtime, Rinne glanced up at the clock to see how much time remained and thought about what might happen if his teammates could not score.
“I looked up and it said 5 seconds and I knew that if he gets the puck with him, we still have a chance to score and he made a nice play,” Rinne said. “Sure enough, Jarny goes and scores. I was already preparing for the shootout. I was thinking about that and I was thinking about who might shoot for Vancouver. I would rather take this one.”
NOTES: Nashville LW Viktor Arvidisson returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. … Tuesday’s game was the 100th of Watson’s NHL career. … Vancouver is 6-2-2 against the Central Division this season. … Canucks C Bo Horvat saw his seven-game point scoring streak end.
Canucks: At Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Predators: Host Boston on Thursday night.