Monday, November 28, 2011

Predators Play Solid Game in 2-1 Win to Break Streak

The Nashville Predators played with serious determination to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in a solid effort to break their four game losing streak on Monday night at Rexall Place. Nick Spaling had the game winner in the third period in the comeback win.

Anders Lindback played the game that he needed to play, stopping all but one of the 18 Oiler shots, to pick up his first win of the season. Nikolai Khabibulin played an excellent game, stopping 29 of 31 Predator shots, in taking the loss.

It was the best all-round effort by the Predators in several games. The middle period was very disjointed, with several penalties, but the Preds hung tough and came back with a goal to tie the game.

The Predators had contributions throughout the lineup with everyone getting shots on goal except for Sergei Kostitsyn, Roman Josi, and Blake Geoffrion, who's time was limited due to injury.

Watch for a meeting for Ryan Jones with Brendan Shanahan on Tuesday for the hit to the head on Geoffrion.

Jordin Tootoo deserves special mention for his effort at being a nuisance to Edmonton all evening while getting four shots on goal and logging three hits for the evening.

Another highlight was Lindback picking up the assist on Shea Weber goal that tied the game.

The Predators left immediately after the game for the short trip to Calgary where they will play the Flames on Tuesday night.

Make the jump for comments from the couch and more details from the game...

Comments from the Couch...

First Period...

Anders Lindback got his second start of the year in net. Brian McGrattan and the injured Frankie Boullon were scratched. Geoffrion was back in the line-up after sitting out the last four games as a healthy scratch.

Eberle scored the first goal of the game at 7:07 when Shea Weber failed to clear the puck from in front of the Preds' net and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle worked the puck to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.

Weber was then called for roughing Ales Hemsky at 8:49 but the recently shaky Predators penalty kill unit held the Oilers to no shots.

In spite of being down 1-0 at the end of the period, the Predators did appear to be playing a more competitive game than we have seen during the team's four game losing streak. The team settled down and played much better after the Oilers' goal.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        0         6        19       1-2:00 9-7  56%
Oilers                  1         4        13       0-0:00 7-9  44%

Second Period...

At 5:41, Jordin Tootoo was involved in a skirmish with several Oilers after he got a shot on goal but no penalties resulted.

Ryan Jones hit Geoffrion with a shot to the head and knocked him to the ice at 6:35 and received a five minute major for elbowing. After the play, Theo Peckham shoved Tootoo who was then called for diving as he fell to the ice.

Geoffrion did not return as he was out with an "upper body" injury that had the looks of a potential concussion-like injury as he went straight to the dressing room after the Jones hit to the head.

I'm sure Barry Trotz was ready to explode 20 seconds later when Sergei Kostitsyn was called for interference on Ryan Smyth to take away two minutes of power play time from Jones' major penalty. Both teams had good chances during the four on four.

Even worse, Roman Josi was called for tripping an out of control Eberle on a horrible call at 8:31 to give the Oilers 24 seconds of four on three advantage.

As soon as the Predators returned to the power play, Edmonton had a breakaway and Lennart Petrell took out the Preds net but missed the shot. Craig Smith was all over Petrell on a playwhere he could have been called for a penalty but was not.

The Predators finally got the power play goal at 11:34 when Weber took a pass from Suter and drove straight down the left of Khabibulin and drilled it past the netminder to tie the game 1-1.

With 1:09 left in the period, Tootoo was called for high-sticking Nugent-Hopkins.

In spite of all the confusion and penalties, the Predators played a decent period of hockey and had the Oilers off balance for most of the period.

2nd Period       Goals         Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1        16        32       4-8:00 11-12 48%
Oilers                  0         7        13       2-7:00 12-11 52%

Third Period...

The period started with 51 seconds of carry-over penalty on the Predators.

Things evened up for Tootoo at 2:25 when he was blasted in the face with the stick of Colton Teubert drawing a penalty. The best scoring chance of the man advantage was from Horcoff on a short-handed break-away at 3:06. The Predators had four shots on the man-advantage.

Lindback was shaken up at 6:53 when his pads shifted and he was hit on the knee by a shot from Eric Belanger but he was able to remain in the game after the TV time out.

The Oilers thought they had scored at 10:25 on a shot by Horcoff but Lindback covered the puck in the blue ice as it sat beside the left post. The on-ice official blew it off and video review confirmed the call.

After putting pressure on Khabibulin all period, the Preds finally broke through at 12:21 when Spaling buried the puck from the slot with assists to Tootoo and Craig Smith.

The Predators really played tough defense with short shifts down the stretch as Barry Trotz was focused on protecting the lead.

With 1:26 left after a time out, Khabibulin was pulled. The Predators held firm with key blocks from Fisher and Spaling.

No one looked happier during the postgame handshakes than Pekka Rinne congratulating Lindback.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1         9        15       0-0:00 15-8  65%
Oilers                 0         7        15       1-2:00 8-15  35%


Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        2        31        66       5-10:00 26-28 48%
Oilers                 1        18        41       3-9:00 28-26 52%

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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