Oilers lose 3-1 to Preds in the Music City
|Edmonton's Liam Reddox tries to cut to the net on Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne on Tuesday, March 22 at Bridgestone Arena. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Nashville scored twice in the opening period, while goaltender Pekka Rinne frustrated Oilers shooters with 19 saves on the night, as the Predators defeated the Oilers 3-1 at Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night.
scored Edmonton's lone goal of the evening, while Devan Dubnyk
recorded 27 saves in the loss.
Few whistles in the opening four minutes allowed the Oilers and Predators to establish a strong pace and bring everyone in the game. By the three-minute mark, each player in the lineup had seen the ice on both sides.
Although stoppages were at a minimum, so too were the number of early scoring chances. Martin Erat snapped that trend at 4:08 when he finished a beautifully orchestrated three-way passing play between he, David Legwand and Joel Ward. With the Predators' fourth shot of the game, the home side was able to gain a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard.
Moments later, Oilers defenceman Kurtis Foster
was assessed a tripping infraction that sent Nashville to the game's first power-play.
On the ensuing advantage, Sergei Kostitsyn rushed the puck up ice before challenging the Oilers defence, fooling them with a carefully planned spin move, and feeding teammate Patric Hornqvist. The Predators sophomore made no mistake, tucking the puck upstairs on Devan Dubnyk
to put Nashville up by a pair at 7:40.
By the midway point of the period, Nashville's 2-0 advantage highlighted an 11-2 shot edge.
In the latter portion of the period, the Oilers would begin to battle back and build some momentum. Further time was spent in the Nashville end, but quality chances were still scarce. At the end of the frame, Nashville continued to lead 2-0 and had vaulted ahead on the shot clock with a commanding 15-5 advantage.
Although the second period saw a reversal in territorial attack time, Nashville was able to establish a 3-0 lead. A scrambled neutral zone sequence saw Chris VandeVelde
and Patric Hornqvist engage in an unpenalized melee. Veteran forward David Legwand capitalized on the resulting chance, putting his club up by three at the 7:00 mark.
Moments later, Sergei Kostitsyn was charged with tripping, sending the Oilers to their first power-play of the evening. Edmonton wasted no time in ending the opportunity, as Jordan Eberle
pounced on a Jim Vandermeer
rebound to bring the Oilers back within two.
As the period reached the midway point, Edmonton had powered back on the shot clock. Nashville's previously commanding edge had been sliced to 17-11.
Predators defenceman Cody Franson continued the second period parade to the penalty box, as he was assessed a call for interference at 11:49. The man-power advantage passed without incident and the home side continued to lead 3-1 through 40 minutes.
With one period to play, Nashville's shot lead had extended to 20-12.
The Oilers' early third period effort to generate energy came at a cost. At 4:39, Theo Peckham
was called for tripping, sending Nashville to its second power-play of the night. A number of big saves from Dubnyk helped keep the 3-1 score on the board as the third period progressed.
Midway through the period, the Predators were sent back to the power-play when Ryan O'Marra
was assessed a hooking minor. Dubnyk stood tall once again, turning aside several quality chances from the home side. The penalty soon expired with the teams returning to five-on-five play with just over seven minutes remaining on the clock.
Nashville's lead in shots had extended to a 29-15 advantage, but the two-goal lead remained in focus.
With under five minutes to play, Mike Fisher was charged for tripping. Although on the power-play, the Oilers struggled to generate quality chances. The best opportunity came off the stick of Nashville's Joel Ward, who nearly beat Dubnyk, shorthanded, to put the game away. A sprawing retrieval from the Oilers netminder saved the puck from the goal line, preserving the score and giving his team a chance in the final few minutes.
Moments later and still on the power-play, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne one-upped Dubnyk with a thrilling glove save as he turned aside Tom Gilbert
. The Oilers rearguard appeared to have an open net, but the desperation dive kept the Predators in front by two.
With under two minutes to play, Dubnyk was replaced with an extra-attacker as the visitors searched for a pair to equalize the score. The Oilers pressed, but the Predators did as well as they looked to seal the outcome with an empty net tally.
While the puck was deep in Edmonton's zone, Kurtis Foster
was sent awkwardly into the corner-boards by David Legwand. The veteran blueliner was assessed by Head Athletic Therapist T.D. Forss before being assisted off the ice and into the dressing room.
The remaining seconds ticked away without incident as the Oilers fell by a 3-1 score to the Predators.
|Three star selections