Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Predators Win Fifth in a Row in Overtime

Jason Arnott, David Legwand, Ryan Suter and Jerrod Smithson Postgame

Coach Barry Trotz Postgame Comments

The Nashville Predators came out on top of a see-saw battle with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, winning in overtime by a score of 6-5. The Preds extended their current win streak to five games which is their longest streak in two years.

Nashville came out somewhat flat during the first period but managed to play to a 2-2 tie in the first stanza. David Legwand opened the scoring at the 6:22 mark. Edmonton came back and scored twice after Pred miscues in puck handling on goals by Sam Gagner and Marc-Antoine Pouliot. David Legwand score again at 18:26 to even the score.

The Predators seemed much more engaged during the second period and had the only tally of the period on a power play goal by Ryan Suter at 4:13. Both teams skated well with the Preds out shooting the Oilers 16-4 for the period and ended with the Preds having a 3-2 advantage.

The third period was a real roller coaster with several momentum swings. The Oilers came out and scored twice on goals by Andrew Cogliano and J F Jacques to take a 4-3 lead. The Predators roared back with a pair of goals seventy seconds apart by Steve Sullivan to take a 5-4 lead midway through the third period. The Oilers weren’t finished. Eric Cole tied the game at 13:52 to leave it at 5-5 at the end of regulation.

The game headed for overtime and Jason Strudwick was called for holding at 1:25 giving the Predators a for on three power play. At 2:31 in overtime, Captain Jason Arnott took a pass from Shea Weber and blew it past Dwayne Roloson for the game winner. Roloson appeared injured and did not make a good move on the puck.

It was an emotional moment for both teams. As Roloson slumped in the crease the entire Predators bench surrounded the Captain in celebration.

After the game Arnott related his version of the final shot, “I knew he was scrambling, the shot before, I knew I hurt him a little bit because he went down. He was scrambling all over the place and I just tried to get it on net. I knew Souray was coming out to block so I had to get it by him, that’s a big body.”

Pekka Rinne, who had been named the NHL Rookie of the Month earlier in the day, did not have one of his better outings but he battled to the end. On three of the goals, the Oilers shooters were left open in front of the net and Rinne was unable to stop the shots. Rinne stopped 23 of 28 Edmonton shots which was well below his second in the league 2.15 goals against average.

For the game Nashville out shot Edmonton by a 43-28 margin. Individually David Legwand had eight shots, Steve Sullivan had six and Shea Weber and Jason Arnott each had five. Arnott also had one of his better nights in the face off circle converting on 14 of 17 chances.

The Nashville victory left the Preds in a tie for seventh with the Oilers and two points behind Columbus who they play on Thursday in Nashville. This is the first time that the have actually been in the top eight in several months. They have 18 games remaining and will probably need 11 or 12 wins to stay in the top eight at season’s end.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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