Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Preds solve pesky Oilers in 3-1 win

With the Edmonton Oilers out of the playoff picture for some time now, they've taken to the role of spoiler, as ex-Pred Ryan Jones pointed out on his twitter page yesterday. The Nashville Predators have had all kinds of problems dealing with the Oilers speed all season long, but not tonight, as the Preds jumped out to an early lead and held off the Oilers the rest of the way for a 3-1 win.

1st Period
  • Nashville wasted no time getting on the board, as Martin Erat finished off a beautiful tic-tac-toe play to give the Preds the lead at 4:08. Erat is clearly the Preds most offensively talented player, and he's definitely answered the call over the past several games, as he overtook Shea Weber for the team lead in points with his tally.
  • At 7:40, the Preds extended their lead on the power play, as Sergei Kostitsyn made a slick pass between his legs to Patric Hornqvist, who quickly ripped a shot from the slot past Devan Dubnyk.
  • Despite Nashville's fast start, they took their foot off the gas, and Edmonton turned up the pressure for the rest of the period, using their abundance of speed to create several scoring chances.
2nd Period
  • Edmonton continued to pour on the pressure, and once again had several close calls in the opening minutes of the period.
  • Nashville upped their lead to 3-0 at 7:00, as David Legwand used a Hornqvist altercation at center ice as a distraction and broke in on Dubnyk, sending a powerful backhander by the Oilers netminder.
  • Edmonton finally broke through on the power play at 9:38, as Jordan Eberle got the rebound of an Andrew Cogliano shot and scored backdoor.
3rd Period
  • Both teams exchange scoring chances throughout the period, but neither team budged, and Nashville was able to hang on for two more huge points.
Other Thoughts
  • David Legwand was everywhere tonight, registering a goal, assist (should've been two), and five shots on goal in just over 20 minutes of ice time.
  • Pekka Rinne kept doing his thing after taking the day off on Sunday. What else is there to say? He's the reason why the Preds are still in the thick of the playoff hunt, and how he plays will dictate if this team makes the playoffs, and how deep a run they potentially can make.
The Preds just keep on rolling along, and look to continue their winning ways on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks, who hot on the Preds tail in the Western conference standings. A win over the Ducks would not only mean two points, but would also provide a much needed cushion over one of the teams in a tightly packed race to the playoffs.

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