Oilers pounce on Preds 6-1
|Edmonton's JF Jacques pressures Nashville's Shea Weber during Monday's game in Tennessee. The Oilers won 6-2. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Four goals in the first period, including two by Zack Stortini
, gave the Oilers the start they were looking Monday night, and the club held on through the following 40 minutes to walk away with a 6-1 victory in Nashville.
, Gilbert Brule
, Andrew Cogliano
, and Denis Grebeshkov scored Edmonton's other four goals, while Jeff Deslauriers
made 40 saves for a confident win in his first start of the season.
Less than two minutes in, Stortini and Triston Grant dropped their gloves for a lengthy battle to the right of Jeff Deslaurier's net. Both players sat out five minutes for the fight, and the Predators used the following face-off to swarm and thoroughly test the Oilers goalie.
Although the home team owned the shot clock, the visitors were the first to make one count. At the seven minute mark, Ales Hemsky
faked a shot and fed the puck to Shawn Horcoff
, who one-timed it past Pekka Rinne to make it 1-0 Oilers.
Four minutes later, Gilbert Brule
doubled Edmonton's lead. While flying up ice with Dustin Penner
on the opposite wing, Brule surprised Rinne by cutting towards the net and tapping Penner's backhand pass into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Shortly after the goal, Marcel Goc was called for holding and the Oilers benefited from the game's first powerplay. It took nearly the full two minutes, but the man-advantage proved advantageous when Stortini went top shelf for his first of the season and Edmonton's third of the game.
The Predators earned two powerplays of their own as the period progressed, but the club was unable to beat Deslauriers and remained down by three. Upon the return of five-on-five, Stortini struck again -- and not with his fists, as is usually the case. With help from Andrew Cogliano
and Jason Strudwick
, the Oilers enforcer backhanded the puck past Rinne to mark two goals and a fight on his first-period resume.
Although the Oilers were up 4-0 after 20 minutes, they trailed the Predators 12-9 on the shot clock.
Dan Ellis replaced Rinne between the Preds pipes to start the middle frame. Ellis stopped his first two shots faced, but when speedy Cogliano showed up on his doorstep, he couldn't catch the puck and saw his club's deficit increase to 5-0.
Nashville topped 20 shots at the game's midway point, while Edmonton had yet to reach 15. As the period continued, two more Predators powerplays failed to net the first home goal of the night, and the Oilers countered with number six. Defenceman Denis Grebeshkov kept up the backhand success and lifted it over Ellis with two minutes left on the clock.
In the final minute and after 25 attempts, Nashville's captain Jason Arnott finally broke Deslaurier's perfect stretch by redirecting Patric Hornqvist's shot to set the score 6-1 heading into the final frame.
Nashville cracked 30 shots and then doubled Edmonton's 17, but Deslauriers showcased his flexibility and reflexes with a handful of stellar saves to preserve his club's commanding lead.
A game-ending powerplay pushed the Predators to 41 shots, but Deslauriers closed out the game brilliantly and secured a confident winning start to the Oilers road schedule.
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