Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Predators Start Fast, Hold On to Beat the Oilers 3-2

The Nashville Predators returned to Bridgestone Arena after a 12 day, 6 game road trip to take on the Edmonton Oilers. The Predators faced the Oilers in the first game of the road trip and came away with a 4-1 win in that meeting.

Pekka Rinne was between the pipes and looking to continue his solid effort this season. The Oilers had Viktor Fasth in net.

Fasth was under siege in the first period, as the Predators would fire a season high 17 shots on goal and would score three times for a 3-0 advantage at the end of the period.

The end of the period would be the end of the night for Fasth as well, as Ben Scrivens would finish out the game.

All of the Predators goals came of hard work, driving to the net and following shots.

Mike Ribeiro tallied first at 2:51 of the first as a James neal shot slid between the pads of Fasth and was laying behind in the blue paint. Ribeiro got to the puck ahead of an Oilers defender and tapped it home to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

The Predators second goal by Matt Cullen was a thing of beauty. A blast by Seth Jones ricocheted off the end board and came to Cullen in the slot. Cullen was checked and as he was falling to the ice was able to backhand the puck past Fasth and just inside the post for the 2-0 lead at 9:21.

Filip Forsberg continued his torrid play, taking a pass from behind the net from Ribeiro and somehow sliding the puck between the arm of Fasth and the post at 19:06.

A hot start, a 3-0 lead, and this game was in the bag, right?

Well the Oilers came out battling in the second period. Benoit Pouliot scored on the first shot of the second period to make it 3-1 just 31 seconds into the period. The shot looked like it may have been tipped and sailed over the shoulder of Rinne and under the crossbar.

Nail Yakupov was the beneficiary of hard work by David Perron, as Perron skated the puck out of the corner and toward the net. Perron drew Rinne to the right side of the net and got a pass to a wide open Yakupov on the left side. Yakupov had an easy tap in for the Oilers second goal at 14:42.

That was it for the scoring, as both teams had scoring chances and the netminders did a good job of shutting them down.

Some observations:

  • The Predators out shot the Oilers 35-23. The first period shot total, 17-6 for the Predators, was the most shots in a period by the team. That first period was as dominant a period of hockey that the Predators have played. Edmonton went 13 minutes without a shot on goal in the first.

  • The Predators power play was 0-2. The penalty kill was able to kill off both of the Oilers man advantage opportunities.

  • The Predators are 10-1-1 when they score at least two goals. They are 6-1-2 in one goal games. that last statistic is especially encouraging because it shows the strength of Rinne in net and the fact that this team keeps attacking offensively instead of sitting back and trying to protect a lead.

  • James Neal had a team high and season high 10 shots on goal and picked up an assist tonight.

  • Filip Forsberg now has 17 points (7G-10A) in 15 games. I was really impressed with Forsberg's play along the wall. He is strong on the puck and makes good decisions to keep a play alive. This is an unheralded part of his game, but is a real strength.

  • Mike Ribeiro is sneaky good at creating turnovers. He had three steals that turned plays around in the offensive zone. He is adept at taking the puck off the stick of a defender and turning a play around for a quick attack.

  • Roman Josi led the Predators in TOI with 26:23. 

  • Ben Scrivens made 24 saves in the final two periods that he played.

  • The Oilers do not have a win this season against a Western Conference team.
Great jump and a fast start by the Predators was enough to keep the game in the win column. It got interesting over the final 20 minutes, but this team shoed maturity and did what it had to do to win the game.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Mike Ribeiro

3. Ben Scrivens

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