By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators dropped a 2-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers in a shootout Tuesday night. With the loss, the Predators move up from 10th to 9th in the Western Conference standings, just one point out of the 8th spot.
With Marcel Goc out for the remainder of the season, Steve Sullivan recently placed on injured reserve, Marek Svatos claimed off waivers and no additional moves by the Predators on Monday’s trade deadline, the message was clear. The team is trusting its youth. Blake Geoffrion and Matt Halischuk, recalled from Milwaukee, will now likely stay with the team for the rest of the season and, with any luck, beyond the end of the regular season.
All the scoring during regulation on Tuesday night took place in a 41 second span during the first period, and it was Nashville’s youth that provided the team’s lone goal.
In just his third NHL game, Geoffrion scored his first goal at 12:45 into the opening frame.
Ryan Suter took the puck into the offensive zone and passed to Halischuk who shot the puck on Martin Gerber, who made just his third start for the Oilers this season.
Suter picked up the rebound and from behind the net backhanded the puck to Geoffrion who, in front of the net, kicked the puck to his stick and then took the shot, beating Gerber.
Edmonton tied the game 41 seconds later when Sam Gagner sent a cross-ice pass to Jim Vandermeer who joined the play down low. Vandermeer’s slap shot beat Pekka Rinne for his second goal of the season.
There was no scoring in the second, third or overtime periods. Jordan Eberle and Marty Erat scored in the shootout. Since both goalies stopped two shooters in the three-round shootout, an extra round was required. Linus Omark scored on Rinne but Cody Franson was unable to answer for Nashville, ending the game for the Oilers.
Nashville had three power play opportunities and was unable to convert on the man advantage against a team that is ranked last in the League on the penalty kill.
Only one team in the entire NHL, Colorado, has allowed more goals against than Edmonton. That the Predators were only able to score one goal against Edmonton on Tuesday night and were shutout 4-0 a few weeks back by the same Oilers squad is not a good sign for the final weeks remaining in the regular season for a team that will likely need to win a majority of the games left to qualify for the post season.
Nashville’s veteran forwards need to step up to the plate and will have an opportunity to do so when Nashville plays Vancouver on Thursday night. On Tuesday, Vancouver won in a shootout against the Blue Jackets, edging Columbus by a 3-2 score.
Additional Game Notes:
For the second game in a row, JP Dumont was a healthy scratch.
Jonathan Blum checked Ales Hemsky who slowly skated to his bench and left the game.
That was only the second shootout victory for the Oilers in nine tries.
Edmonton has now won 5 of their last 8 games.
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