Did the Oilers expect to win their third game against the Predators? Obviously, either they assumed the win or the Predators became the team we expect to see as they squeeze past the Oilers 2-1. After a questionable first period, the Predators defense kicked in and hit the ice with force. Though the second period was a bit fishy (we’ll discuss what happened in a few), the Predators did not let that affect their concentration overall. The Oilers snapped the Predators out of a four-straight losing streak tonight, preparing the Preds to continue the win in Calgary tomorrow night. Making hockey as great as it is, the third period had us balancing on the edge of our seats, biting our nails down to the quick. With this win, does that mean the Predators are finally digging themselves out of their rut? We’ll find out tomorrow in Calgary. Until then, here are the highlights from tonight’s rendezvous in Edmonton:
- Anders Lindbäck got his second start in goal this season tonight and proved that he’s been learning while hiding behind Peks as backup. Edmonton was only able to get 18 shots at the goal and Anders blocked all but one. Pekka is scheduled to return to the ice tomorrow night in Calgary, but after Anders extraordinary performance tonight, will Peks get another night to rest?
- Edmonton’s only goal was placed by Jordan Eberle in the first period, sending them high and mighty into the second. It was actually a very well-executed play by both Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but it was only good enough to hold the Predators into the second.
- The second period may have been the oddest, most bizarre 20 minutes in hockey we’ve ever seen. How so? Well, Tootoo was called for diving, Edmonton’s Ryan Jones got a major for elbowing Blake Geoffrion, Sergei Kostitsyn used that PP well and picked up an interference, giving Edmonton the PP, and there was just way too many terrible calls made all together. Oh yea, and the refs called Roman Josi for tripping (terrible call), which put three of our guys (Tootoo, Kostitsyn, Josi) in the penalty box at one time. Here’s the video of Jordin Tootoo “diving”. Ehh, we’re all little biased about this, but he is our player. He may have flung himself back a little more than he should have, but we’ll let you be the judge. Toots took a penalty for this maneuver in the process:
- As stated before, Blake Geoffrion was nastily checked by Ryan Jones, who was enviably called for elbowing and spent 5 minutes in the penalty box for his nice little tap. Geoffrion, however, was visibly hurt after the contact and was taking to the locker room. He did not return to the game and was deemed as suffering an upper-body injury. Nothing serious has been released yet and we pray for a speedy recovery for Blake. You can catch the video of Jones hammering Geoffrion here.
- The Captain himself put the Predators on the board tonight during the second with a clean wrist shot to the net. Shea nailed this goal at 11:34 with one second left on the PP. Weber was assisted by Ryan Suter and, truth be told, goalie Anders Lindbäck.
- Speaking of the Swedish Bigfoot, Lindbäck took a puck in the kneecap while blocking a shot and was rattled for a moment or two. Luckily, Anders quickly shook the pain off and continued his domination in Edmonton; though that knee is probably throbbing right about now!
- Nick Spaling gave the Predators the lead at 12:21 in the third with a little help from both Jordin Tootoo and Craig Smith. Although the Oilers put the pressure on him, Anders never faltered (nor did the defense) giving the Predators the much deserved win they needed.
- In a nice turnaround, the Predators out shot the Oilers 31 to 18. However, they did managed to find themselves sitting out on a few more penalties than Edmonton did, 5 to 3. Here are the offenders:
- Shea Weber – 1st Period 8:49 – Roughing
- Jordin Tootoo – 2nd Period 6:35 – Diving
- Sergei Kostitsyn – 2nd Period 6:55 – Interference
- Roman Josi – 2nd Period 8:31 – Tripping
- Jordin Tootoo – 2nd Period 18:51 – Hi-Sticking
Tonight we saw a team we hope (and expect) to see in future games. The Predators came to steak claim on Edmonton after the last two losses against them this season and were ready to listen to ‘All Night Long’ in the locker room once more. The Predators continue the road trip tomorrow in Calgary, hoping to cling to the high they experienced tonight. The game starts again at 8:30PM. GO PREDS.