NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville didn’t do anything that the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t expect Tuesday night.
Hours before what became a 3-2 Predators victory at Bridgestone Arena, coach Mike Sullivan said his team would be facing a club that plays a tenacious game and thrives on pressuring its opponents.
Which is pretty much what Nashville did.
And even though the Penguins were resilient — they battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the first period — the Predators claimed the win when Filip Forsberg scored 14 seconds into overtime.
The Penguins clearly believed that a pick play at the blue line allowed Forsberg to go to the net unchallenged on his game-winner.
The Penguins’ loss dropped their record to 10-10-1, while Nashville stretched its winning streak to six games.
Bryan Rust rejoined the Penguins’ lineup after sitting out the previous three games because of an unspecified lower-body injury and reclaimed his spot on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. He also worked on the No. 1 power-play unit and, oh yeah, scored a game-tying goal early in the third period.
Rust’s return bumped Drew O’Connor down to the second line and Alex Nylander into street clothes.
After a thoroughly uneventful first half of the opening period, fourth-line center Michael McCarron gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 10:20, as he set up in the slot near the hash marks and deflected a Tyson Barrie shot out of the air and past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.
It was just the second time this season the Penguins have allowed the first goal of the game on the road.
Although the Penguins began to assert themselves after McCarron’s goal — they ran their advantage in shots up to 10-4 in the minutes that followed — they were unable to get a puck past Nashville goalie Juuse Saros.
The Predators got the first power play of the evening when Jeff Carter tripped Nashville right winger Philip Tomasino at 14:14, but were unable to generate any meaningful pressure until the man-advantage was winding down.
Nashville was going to get another chance with the extra man late in the period, but never officially got a power play because McCarron struck again before there was a whistle to stop play.
With a retaliation penalty call pending against Reilly Smith, who had absorbed a big hit, McCarron threw a Tomasino rebound by Jarry from the inner edge of the right circle at 18:38.
The Penguins’ power play, which was 0-for-18 in the previous seven games, got an opportunity when Predators defenseman Jeremy Lauzon hooked Evgeni Malkin 58 seconds into the second period.
Its best chance for a goal came as the advantage was expiring, when Saros denied Smith on a point-blank deflection.
The Penguins did seem to create some momentum during that man-advantage, and Malkin pulled them within a goal at 5:49, as he took a feed from Smith and put a shot over Saros’ glove from the left dot for his 10th of the season.
They killed a hooking minor assessed to Jansen Harkins at 9:26, then went down a man again with 38 seconds to go before the intermission, as Marcus Pettersson was sent off for holding. They made it through those two minutes unscathed, as well.
The Penguins were back to full strength for just over a minute when Rust made it 2-2.
His shot from the top of the right circle struck Lauzon’s leg in front of the net and eluded Saros at 2:26. John Ludvig and Guentzel got assists on the goal, Rust’s 10th. Ludvig’s assist was his first point in the NHL.
Nashville winger Cole Smith was penalized for hooking at 5:28, but the Penguins’ power play couldn’t manufacture a go-ahead goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to practice in Nashville Wednesday afternoon before traveling to Tampa, where they will face the Lightning Thursday evening.