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Kostitsyn's hat-trick helps Predators douse Flames

(Reuters) - Sergei Kostitsyn completed a hat-trick late in the third period to help the Nashville Predators withstand a late charge and beat the road-weary Calgary Flames 5-3 on Sunday.

Nashville took a three-goal lead into the final period but Calgary made it close with goals from Rene Bourque and Brendan Morrison until Kostitsyn scored his third into an empty net with 30 seconds to play, handing the Flames a third straight loss.

"He's shooting the puck," said Predators coach Barry Trotz of his left wing. "We talked about him just doing that to create offense and not just to score a goal. I think he's starting to get the message."

Calgary (18-17-5) is four games into a season-long seven-game road trip while the Predators (21-14-4) earned a third consecutive win.

The Flames opened the scoring when captain Jarome Iginla notched his 15th goal of the season early in the first period but Nashville tied it up on a goal by Kevin Klein, who returned from a six-game absence because of the flu.

Klein had a chance to score the final goal of the game but he was outskated by Kostitsyn to put in the empty net shot.

"I'm glad for his hat trick," Klein said. "Those don't come too often. I don't really get paid to score, so it's not a big deal."

Kostitsyn gave his team a 2-1 lead late in the first while Matt Halischuk converted a goal in the second period where Kostitsyn added his second goal.

It was another blown lead for the Flames, albeit a small one this time, after they squandered a 3-0 advantage in a 4-3 overtime defeat to Ottawa on Friday.

Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff had 22 saves in a losing effort and Pekka Rinne, who entered the game having allowed just two goals in his previous two games, needed just 17 stops to record the win for Nashville.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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