By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators continued their six-game road trip by beating the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night 3-2 in a shootout. Defenseman Cody Franson scored the only shootout goal for Nashville and recorded an assist on both of Nashville’s regulation goals. The Predators have found success in Edmonton winning eight of the last nine meetings at Rexall Place.
Predators starting goaltender, Pekka Rinne, is now 9-1-0 in his last 10 starts and has a 17-11-4 record. Heading into the game, Rinne had a 1.44 goals against average. In goal for Edmonton was Devan Dubnyk who is now 4-4-6 on the season. Nikolai Khabibulin had played the previous 10 games for the Oilers.
It was Nashville that got on the board first. Sergei Kostitsyn took a pass from Cody Franson. With Dubnyk ready for Kostitsyn to shoot, Kostitsyn saw Alexander Sulzer rushing to the net and passed the puck to the Predators defenseman who one-timed it past Dubnyk on the stick side. Sulzer had just been sprung from the penalty box when he joined the rush.
The goal came at 11:53 into the first period. It was Sulzer’s first NHL goal.
Both teams had two power play opportunities in the first period, but neither team was able to capitalize.
Nashville went on the man advantage just 51 seconds into the game. Jim Vandermeer, in his first game back from being on injured reserve, was called for interference on Jerred Smithson.
The Oilers have the worst penalty kill in the League but the Predators were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Despite keeping the pressure on in the Oilers end, Nashville did not register a shot on goal during the power play.
Taylor Hall drew a penalty when he was hauled down by Sulzer at 9:46 into the first period. On the power play, the best opportunity came from Magnus Paajarvi who broke through the Predators defense but his backhanded attempt was stopped by Rinne.
Zach Stortini was called for charging Patric Hornqvist at 13:17 to give Nashville its second power play of the first period. For the second time of the night, the Predators were unable to take advantage of their power play opportunity.
With just 2:27 remaining in the opening frame, Wade Belak was called for roughing Liam Reddox, but the period would end with the Predators still up 1-0.
Each team had 5 only shots on goal in the first period. By the end of the night, Nashville had outshot Edmonton 25-20.
The second period opened with end-to-end action as both teams exchanged scoring chances, but no one was able to score in the middle frame.
The teams again traded power play chances. Theo Peckham was called for holding Nick Spaling just under four minutes into the middle frame. Weber rang one off the post to the right side of Dubnyk when he skated in down low, but Nashville went 0-3 on the power play.
At the midway mark of the second period, the Predators were stuck in their own end with Edmonton sustaining pressure. The Predators were able to get a stoppage in play, but as soon as play resumed Wade Belak took a hooking penalty on Stortini. Nashville killed off the penalty only allowing one shot on goal.
Starting the third period, the Predators looked slow and tired. Nashville was unable to maintain their lead. At 2:03 into the final frame, Andrew Cogliano tied the game on a 2-on-1 with Reddox, beating Rinne just over the glove.
JP Dumont got a Tom Gilbert stick in the neck 9:55 into the final frame. No hand went up so there was no call on the play. The Predators did receive their fourth power play opportunity a couple minutes after the Gilbert slash when a holding penalty was called on Ladislav Smid.
With just five seconds left on the power play, the Predators connect to take a 2-1 lead when Joel Ward tipped in a shot from the point. It was Ward’s six goal of the season. Sulzer and Franson, both instrumental in Nashville’s first goal, picked up the assists.
The tally was also the first power play goal for Nashville on their current six-game road trip.
Edmonton would tie the game again with just 3:47 left in regulation when Taylor Hall broke in alone on the left wing, beating Rinne high on the stick side. It was Hall’s 15th goal of the season.
Hornqvist drew Nashville’s fifth power play of the night with only 45 seconds left in regulation. Hornqvist drove to the net through the Oilers defense. Peckham was sent to the box for hooking.
Nashville couldn’t score before the buzzer sounded ending regulation, but 1:14 of power play time carried over into overtime.
The Oilers killed off the penalty and just as it expired Ryan Suter was called for tripping Cogliano in the Oilers zone.
The save of the night came during the Oilers overtime power play chance. Rinne lost his goalie stick. Shawn Horcoff took a shot on goal that beat Rinne, but failed to end the game because the puck was stopped by Rinne’s stick that was resting on the side of the post. The play was under review but video replay showed that the puck, while on the goal line, did not completely cross it.
The Oilers and Predators had two very different records going into the shootout. Edmonton was 1-6, now 1-7. The Predators are now 6-2 in the shootout.
Linus Omark, Sam Gagne and Taylor Hall all tried to beat Rinne but couldn’t. Goc was stopped by Dubnyk.
Cody Franson was selected for his first shootout attempt against the Oilers. Franson had already recorded two assists in the night. Franson scored high, glove side on Dubnyk.
David Legwand did not shoot because the Predators had won the game once Hall missed his shot.
The Predators now move on to Calgary to play a Flames team that has picked up points in seven of their last 8 games.
Additional Game Notes:
Jordan Eberle was out of the lineup for Edmonton with a foot injury and is on injured reserve. Ales Hemsky was also out of the lineup. Hemsky and Eberle were supposed to be representing the Oilers during the All-Star weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina but have both backed out.
Steve Sullivan, Cal O’Reilly, Matthew Lombardi, Marek Svatos, and Francis Bouillon remain out of the lineup for Nashville. Matt Halischuk also did not play on Sunday night. Belak was in the lineup in Halischuk’s place.
JP Dumont played his 800th career NHL game. Dumont has scored 213 goals and added 308 assists.
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