Rhett Warrener didn’t expect to be on the ice for the faceoff deep in the offensive zone, let alone score the winning goal in overtime.
“I was surprised to even be out there,” said the rugged defenseman, who has scored 23 goals in 11 NHL seasons. “When you get a chance to do something like that and it goes in, you feel pretty fortunate. I don’t think you expect it from guys like myself.”
“I was leaving the front of the net and I saw Alex had it and I just threw a stick out there,” Warrener said. “It wasn’t much of my doing.”
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla admitted he was surprised to see Warrener out there.
“He’s usually not sitting in the crease anytime, especially not 4-on-4,” Iginla said. “But we had the right guy along the wall to get the puck to him.”
Combined with their 2-1 win Detroit on Tuesday night, the Flames have picked up four points this week as they try to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot. The Flames are six points ahead of the streaking Colorado Avalanche.
“Two wins like this would be big no matter who we’re playing,” Iginla said, “but playing two of the top teams in the whole league, this is something to definitely build off of, to get us some momentum, get us feeling good about ourselves, and get us going on a streak again.”
Calgary had lost eight straight against Nashville since last beating the Predators on Jan. 22, 2004. The Predators, who have lost four of five, moved into a tie for first place overall with Buffalo and maintained their one point lead over Detroit atop the Central Division.
Conroy tied it at 2 for the Flames at 16:13 of the third period. Iginla’s shot attempt deflected off the stick of Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon and bounced across the slot right to Conroy, who snapped a shot past Mason.
“They were struggling for a while and Colorado is not too far behind them and they needed the point and you could tell, they played desperate and they really wanted to win,” said Nashville center Peter Forsberg, who had two assists.
“Once we get all our people healthy, we’ll be a lot different team,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We’ve got a lot of pieces we can still add so we’ll be a different team.”
Nashville took a 2-1 lead 43 seconds into the third period when Fiddler broke to the net and neatly steered Forsberg’s perfectly placed pass behind goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
After giving up an uncharacteristic 20 goals in his previous five starts, Kiprusoff has been sharp this week. He made 30 saves Tuesday and 24 against Nashville.
“It was a good hockey game,” Forsberg said. “It was physical, good chances back and forth, good goaltending, it was like a playoff game today for sure.”
Arnott and Tanguay exchanged power-play goals less than 2 minutes apart in the first period.
NSH: Arnott (26) A: Forsberg, Karia
CGY: Tanguay (22) A: Iginla, Huselius
NSH: Fiddler (10) A: Forsberg, Radulov
CGY: Conroy (12) A: Iginla, Phaneuf
CGY: Warrener (4) A: Tanguay, Yelle