NASHVILLE - Adversity and Nashville have become pretty close lately and it looked like they might be making another date on Thursday night.
But after allowing a pair of shorthanded goals in the first period and raising the ire of another sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena, the Predators finally ditched their unwanted companion and opened a potentially season-defining homestand with two points they badly needed.
Mike Fisher scored two goals, including the tie-breaker at 13:24 of the second period, as Nashville snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 decision over Calgary.
"We've faced a lot of adversity in the last little bit," Fisher said. "We haven't played the way we wanted to, but we stuck with it tonight."
Martin Erat, Nick Spaling and Brandon Yip also scored for the Predators, who entered the game 13th in the West after going 4-10-1 in their previous 15 outings. But after playing 18 of their first 30 games on the road, they have four in a row and 12 of their last 18 at home, where they've suffered two regulation losses this year.
Erat said the team isn't worrying about their surprisingly low place in the standings.
"We knew the schedule would be tough with a lot of road games at the start," he said. "Now we're at home. We just have to worry about winning here. If we can do that, we will be in the playoffs."
Mark Giordano and Blake Comeau gave the Flames (11-13-4) a 2-1 first period edge with shorthanded goals, but they fell to 3-8-2 on the road and lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Giordano opened scoring when he whizzed a 44-foot slap shot past Pekka Rinne at 5:01 of the first. Lee Stempniak drew the assist, dispossessing Roman Josi at the blue line and then slipping a pass to the onrushing Giordano.
Erat's deflection of Josi's slap shot at 11:36 evened the score at 1-1, but Calgary regained the lead when Comeau made no mistake on Giordano's perfect setup at the goalmouth. That inspired scattered boos from Nashville's 26th straight sellout crowd of 17,113.
But Fisher evened the score at 2-2 when he pumped Erat's pass by Miikka Kiprusoff. The veteran goalie was hung to dry when defenseman Chris Butler gave the puck away to Erat behind the net.
Those kinds of mistakes have been hampering the Flames, according to first-year coach Bob Hartley.
"It's not only a black mark against (Butler), it costs us a goal and it gives them momentum," he said. "We've made far too many mistakes, especially on the road."
Fisher then gave the Predators the lead for good when he camped out at the goalmouth and slammed in Josi's crossing pass. Exactly a minute later, Spaling deflected Victor Bartley's wrister by Kiprusoff for a 4-2 advantage.
Yip tacked on his third goal of the season at 15:54 of the third period, while Flames captain Jarome Iginla recorded his eighth goal of the year with a minute remaining.
Iginla's 524th career goal didn't come close to masking a bad night for him and his linemates, Mike Cammalleri and Alex Tanguay. Calgary's top forward trio was a minus seven, while Nashville's top line of Fisher, Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn combined to go plus five.
"That was a big difference in the game," Predators coach Barry Trotz. "Our top line outplayed their big guns."
Overshadowed by Nashville's recent losing has been offensive improvement. The Predators are averaging 3.5 goals during their last eight matches after scoring two goals per game in their first 23 contests.
"I guess we've been a bit bipolar," Trotz joked. "We couldn't score a goal for the first part of the season but we were great on defense. Now we're scoring but we haven't been stopping people."
NOTES: Four of Nashville's top 12 forwards entering the season didn't play Thursday night. Paul Gaustad, Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson are on injured reserve with upper-body injuries, while Craig Smith was scratched after playing in the team's first 30 games. Defensemen Hal Gill (lower-body injury) and Scott Hannan (upper-body injury) also sat out. ... Tanguay entered the night with the NHL's fourth-best shooting percentage, making 9 of 34 attempts for a 26.5 percent mark. ... Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played his 616th straight game, the longest current ironman streak in the league and sixth all-time. He's 14 away from tying Andy Hebenton for fifth. ... Josi's first period assist gave him a four-game scoring streak, a career high.