|Edmonton's Lubomir Visnovsky carries the puck just out of reach of Nashville's Martin Erat at the Sommet Center October 30, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)|
Despite finishing on top in shots, the Oilers managed only one goal on Predators 'tender Pekka Rinne, resulting in a 3-1 loss Thursday night. Sheldon Souray scored the club's lone goal while Mathieu Garon took the loss for the Oilers.
Edmonton tested Rinne with the game's first five shots, including a breakaway attempt by Erik Cole. At the two-minute mark, however, the Predators benefited from the game's first powerplay when the Oilers were found guilty of too many men. The Predators tallied four shots on the powerplay but were unable to beat Garon.
Midway through the period, a face-off in the Oilers zone sent the puck out to Predators blueliner Shea Weber. With a fierce one-timer, Weber fired at Garon but Patric Hornqvist caught a piece of the puck and tipped it past the goalie to put the Predators up 1-0.
The Oilers kept pressure on the Predators following the goal, especially throughout their first powerplay in the final two minutes. Although the club was unable to find a first period equalizer, the visitors carried a 10-7 shot lead into the middle frame.
After his one-timer played a key role in the game's opening goal, Nashville's Weber attempted a similar shot only 1:28 into the second period. This time, the puck flew cleanly past Garon to give the Predators a 2-0 lead.
But less than two minutes later, Sheldon Souray's slapshot cut the lead to one. With two Predators in the penalty box and the Oilers owning a five-on-three, Souray teed up at the blue line and -- with the help of a deflection -- fooled Rinne to put the Oilers on the scoreboard and set the score 2-1.
Just past the midway point of the game, Edmonton's Steve Staios earned a holding penalty and Nashville attempted to increase their lead on the powerplay. The Preds matched the Oilers' shot count on the man-advantage, but Garon stopped each attempt to keep his club within one.
Like in the first period, the Oilers benefited from a powerplay late in the second. Although the club cracked the 20-shot mark on the man-advantage, Rinne resisted Edmonton's assault, extending the 2-1 game into the final frame.
Five minutes into the third, Oilers defender Lubomir Visnovsky was called for interference but the visitors killed their third infraction to stay within one.
With 10 minutes left in regulation, Nashville settled into the Edmonton zone and extended their lead at even strength. Poised in the slot, Predators forward Martin Erat slapped the puck past Garon to put the home team up 3-1.
The Oilers opted for six skaters in the final 90 seconds, and although the club held on to their shot lead through to the final buzzer, the extra attempts would fail to net any extra goals. As a result, Edmonton started their seven-game road trip with a 3-1 loss in Nashville Thursday night.