The Nashville Predators rallied from behind after giving up two goals in the first five minutes of the game to defeat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 6-3. With the victory the Preds moved to 45 points, only two less than the Western Conference leading Los Angeles Kings.
The Predators were led in scoring by Patric Hornqvist with two goals and an assist. Ryan Jones, Marcel Goc , Joel Ward and Jered Smithson also pitched in with goals as the Preds got scoring from all four lines for the second game in a row. David Legwand, Ryan Suter and J. P. Dumont each had two assists.
The game could not have started much worse for the Predators. The Oilers went on the power play 2:27 into the game when Cody Franson was called for interference,
Thirty eight seconds later, the Oilers took the puck the length of the ice starting with goalie Jeff Deslauriers passing the puck to Lubomir Visnovsky who sent it on to Robert Nilsson who then skated past Kevin Klein and Joel Ward for an unobstructed shot at the net and he placed the puck over Pekka Rinne's right shoulder to give the Oilers a quick 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Kevin Klein lost control of a rebound off of Rinne in front of the net and Lubomir Visnovsky slammed the loose puck past Rinne into the net to put the Predators down by two, five minutes into the game.
After the second goal, Barry Trotz called a time out, pulled Pekka Rinne, and replaced him with Dan Ellis. Rinne officially gave up two goals on four shots in 5:01 minutes of play.
The Predators cut the Oiler lead in half when Ryan Jones picked up a loose puck in front of Deslauriers and flipped it into the net for his fourth goal of the season and extended his goal streak to four games. Wade Belak picked up a rare assist on the play as he fed it out from behind the Olier net.
The Predators tied the game 2-2 at 16:06 in the first when David Legwand and Joel Ward skated down the ice in tandem on a give and go where Legwand passed to Ward in front of the Oiler net where Ward missed the initial shot and then gathered his own rebound to bury it to tie the game.
Less than a minute later J. P. Dumont fed an incredible pass from the right corner into the Oilers blue ice where Marcel Goc one-timed it into the net to give the Predators a 3-2 lead. The Preds went from two down to one ahead in a span of 4:46.
For the period, the Predators out shot the Oliers 16-10 and appeared to be getting stronger by the minute as the period ended. The Corsi margin was 15-15.
Five minutes into the second period, Jerred Smithson was called for holding to put the Oilers on their second power play of the game. The Preds avoided a 5 on 3 when Marcel Goc clearly slashed Dustin Penner's stick, breaking it in half, but no call was made. The Preds killed the rest of the penalty.
The Preds scored their fourth consecutive goal at 8:18 in the second when J. P. Dumont skated the puck down the ice, passed to Arnott who then fed the puck to Patric Hornqvist who was on the other side of the Oiler net. Hornqvist delayed just long enough for Deslauriers to go down prematurely so that he could flip it in for an easy goal to put the Preds ahead 4-2.
The Predators got a power play opportunity at 9:53 when Ladislav Smid was called for holding, but only managed one shot on the man advantage.
The Predators then had back to back miscues when they were called for too many men on the ice at 11:52 and then Shea Weber was called for delay of game at 13:34. The survived the 18 seconds of 5 on 3 but failed on the ensuing 5 on 4.
At 14:10, Dan Hamhuis misplayed a puck for one of 19 Predator give aways in the game, that was picked up by Robert Nilsson who had an unobstructed skate to the net where Dan Ellis put up token resistance as the Oilers moved within one at 4-3. Nilsson had two goals on the night, bot on very skilled plays.
At 19:04 in the second, Dustin Penner was called for holding to give the Preds their second man advantage of the evening. With 3.1 seconds left Ryan Suter fired a cannon shot at the net from the blue line that was tipped in by Patric Hornqvist for his second goal of the night that ended the Predators power play drought and restored the Predators two goal lead at 5-3.
For the second period, the Oilers and Preds were tied on shots with six each but the Oilers launched more shots leading the Corsi 18 to 14.
The Predators got another chance on the man advantage at 3:04 of the third period when Steve Staios tackled Ryan Jones behind the Oiler net and was called for holding. The Predators did not get a shot on goal during the power play but Shea Weber fired a cannon shot into Patric Hornqvist's right arm that caused him to struggle to get off the ice. Hornqvist was able to return.
The Predators put the Oilers back on the man advantage at 7:32 when J. P. Dumont was called for hooking but managed to withstand the pressure as the Oilers had three shots on goal.
For the rest of the period, the Oilers played frenetic, desperate hockey, fearing another tongue lashing from Oilers coach Pat Quinn. For the Period the Predators were out shot 10-5.
At 18:53 Jerred Smithson had an empty net goal waived off due to an offside violation. Smithson got it back on the receiving end of a give and go from David Legwand with Deslauriers back in net at 19:16 to bring the final score to 6-3.
The clock finally wound down with the Predators 6-3 victory secured. Dan Ellis got the win in relief stopping 21 of 22 shots and making several game saving shots down the stretch in the third period.
Story Lines From The Game
Get Your Boots Moving...
During the first intermission Jerred Smithson said that Trotz told the team "to get their boots moving" during the time out when Rinne was pulled and it seemed to have worked. The Preds looked like a different team for the rest of the game. Barry Trotz indicated that he was worried about a slow start after playing back to back games and making a long trip.
Break Up The Predators...
The Predators have now scored 18 goals in the in last three games. This is quite a turn around from the team that only scored 11 goals in the first eight games of the season. Ryan Jones has now scored goals in four straight games. With his two goals tonight, Patric Hornqvist has four goals in his last three games.
Getting Away With Murder (Or Defying the Hockey Gods)...
Barry Trotz is a big believer that if you cheat the "hockey gods" it will come back to bite you in the long run. The Preds have played with fire with double digits in give-aways in the last several games, including 19 tonight.
The Predator's special teams are also not producing at a rate that can sustain their current winning percentage. The Preds are 27th (16.3%) in the league on the power play and 29th (77.2%) on the penalty kill. The team was 1 for 3 on the man advantage but the penalty kill unit gave up two goals to the Oilers of five penalties.
The Predators will spend the night in Edmonton and travel to Calgary on Friday to prepare for a 3 p.m. matinee with the Flames on Saturday.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass