Preds still undefeated in regulation but lose third straight…

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First it was the Washington Capitals. Then it was the Calgary Flames. Tonight, it was the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Nashville Predators can still say that they’re undefeated in regulation this season, but they can also say they’ve lost three straight.

Kris Letang scored in overtime to help the Pens beat Nashville 4-3 in front of a sold out Bridgestone Arena crowd on Thursday night. In a hard fought contest that was anybody’s game, both teams skated hard, did the dirty work necessary for success and showed that they could compete with anybody in the NHL. The deciding factor?

They went to overtime.

The Preds have lost three games this year, all three coming in overtime. Furthermore, none of their three wins on the season have come in the extra session.

Nashville jumped out to an early lead when David Legwand scored within the opening minute. Through the rest of the first period he would add to his stats with a penalty and two shots on goal. Pittsburgh thought they had buried one in the waining seconds but the clock had ticked to zero by the time the puck crossed line. The Penguins – barely – were held scoreless in the first but quickly corrected that early in the second.

Just 0:54 into the second stanza, Evgeni Malkin scored the equalizer and gave Pittsburgh much-needed momentum coming out of the gate. Fortunately for the Preds, Sidney Crosby took a cross-checking penalty and Nashville cashed in. Kevin Klein, just before dropping the gloves with Deryk Engelland, bagged a goal on the ensuing man advantage.

Crosby made ammends for his penalty, however, as he notched his fifth goal of the year toward the end of the second.

With just over five minutes gone in the third, Colin Wilson dropped a pass to a trailing Patric Hornqvist who wristed a laser past Marc-Andre Fleury to put Nashville up 3-2.

Crosby, seven minutes later, answered by slamming home a long rebound to tie the game.

Which brought us to overtime. As back and fourth as this game had been, it was only fitting that it would take extra time to be decided. The first chance went to the Preds as Dumont fired a wrist shot on net. After Fluery made the save, the puck bounced up in the air and fell onto the goal line but Pascal Dupuis cleared it off the line. Moments later, Crosby found an open Letang at the point and he made no mistake, putting it past Rinne for the game winner.

While they’ve registered at least one point in the standings in every game, Nashville will try and get back in the win column on Saturday when they travel to face Dallas.

On a related note, they’ll face their old starting goalie Dan Ellis in Tampa Bay the very next night. Section303.com will be live on location in Tampa for that game. You can follow us on Twitter (@cellblock303) for all real-time game updates!

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* Klein, after Malkin clearly boarded Jordin Tootoo, dropped the gloves with Deryk Engelland. Per the NHL’s love affair with the Penguins star players, both combatants got five for fighting but Klein got an extra two for roughing and Malkin got nothing.
* The Preds are the only NHL team left to be undefeated in regulation this season.
* The Penguins outshot the Preds by a huge margin, 38-24.
* Pittsburgh hadn’t won as visitors to Music City since 1999.
* Martin Erat didn’t help his reputation by having a potential game-changing mental error in the third period. As the Preds were about to go on the power play, Erat took an interference penalty that negated it.
* The Penguins had tallied on the power play in five straight games coming into Thursday’s game.
* Malkin finished the game with eight shots. Crosby finished with nine.
* This was the first time this season that the Preds had scored a power play goal in a losing effort.
* This was also the first time Nashville has allowed more than three goals in a game this season.