Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Predators Grab Two Points from the Oilers
The Nashville Predators faced an embattled Edmonton Oilers team on Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Arena and came away with a workmanlike 3-1 win.
It was a game that the Preds could not afford to lose against the last place team in the NHL in order to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. The Predators had only collected three points against the Oilers in three prior meetings so the outcome was not certain.
Barry Trotz noted, "Getting the first goal was a relief because we have had trouble with the Edmonton Oilers this year. We've had trouble with the Province of Alberta this year."
The Predators got goals from Marty Erat, Patric Hornqvist, and David Legwand while the Oilers only goal came from Jordan Eberle.
After taking Sunday off, Pekka Rinne was as sharp as ever in net. He only faced twenty shots and allowed a single goal. When asked about the day off Rinne said, "It was nice, probably mentally, not so much physically just to have a couple of days off, just relax, and watch Anders Lindback play.
Patric Hornqvist described the game well saying, "Maybe it wasn't the best game we played, but we'll take the two points and go forward here."
The Predators got off to a quick start with two goals early in the opening period. Erat got on the board first at 4:08 on a tic-tac-toe play from David Legwand and Joel Ward that went the across the crease twice before Erat buried it in the net.
Then at 7:40, after a Kurtis Foster tripping call, Hornqvist took a drop pass from Sergei Kostitsyn and nailed a power play goal from the left side of the net to put the Preds up 2-0.
The Preds out shot the Oilers 15-5 in the first period and led the Corsi 22-10 in play that was completely dominated by Nashville.
At 7:00 in the second period, a mini-scrum that broke out between Hornqvist and Chris Vandevelde near the benches at center ice. Because of the distraction, the Preds took advantage of the odd man situation around the Oiler net as Ryan Suter fed the puck to Legwand who backhanded the puck into the net from the right side of the slot.
Edmonton came back at 9:38 with a goal of their own from Eberle on the power play when he picked up a rebound off of a Andrew Colangelo shot and flipped it past Rinne to close the gap to 3-1.
The Oilers had a much better second period and kept the puck in the Predators end to a much greater extent. they out shot the Preds 7-5 and controlled the Corsi 18-10.
The third period was a bit better for the Predators as they out shot Edmonton 10-8 but the Oilers were aggressive as they led the Corsi 24-12.
The highlight of the third period was a huge save by Rinne on a shot by Tom Gilbert with 2:44 remaining in the game that led to another classic Nashville TV time out ovation.
The Predators ended the evening with 88 points which is good for sixth place in the Western Conference and the same number of points as fifth place Los Angeles who has a game in hand. The Preds are two points up on Chicago and three point ahead of Anaheim, Dallas, and Calgary.
The Predators' homestand continues with a game against Anaheim on Thursday, Dallas on Saturday, and Vancouver next Tuesday.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass