EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - A couple of early goals was all it took for the Nashville Predators to shake the confidence of the struggling Edmonton Oilers.
Nashville scored two goals 28 seconds apart five minutes into the game, Ryan Jones had a goal and two assists and the Predators won for the second night in a row, beating Edmonton 5-3 on Tuesday night.
J.F. Jacques, Ryan Potulny and Dustin Penner replied for the Oilers, who have lost five straight and 12 of their last 13. Edmonton is just two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for last place in the NHL.
"We were struggling a little bit at home of late," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "Sometimes getting on the road can be good for your hockey team and you can get things in order. I thought we did a really good job of getting on top of them quickly. Their confidence is shaken a little bit and that really helped."
|The Preds Goaltenders Stepping Up|
| Nashville’s goaltending was top notch in the team’s back-to-back sweep at Vancouver and at Edmonton. Dan Ellis was in control during last night’s 3-2 win, making 30 saves. Pekka Rinne was a difference maker tonight with 38 stops.
Beyond the number -- the 38 stops were Rinne's second-most of the '09-10 season -- was the timing of Rinne’s saves. The Oilers controlled the play early, taking the game’s first five shots, but Rinne was up to task. And then after the Preds tallied goals 28 seconds apart to gain a 2-0 lead, Rinne made a big pad save of Patrick O’Sullivan to maintain momentum for Nashville. By the time Edmonton was finally able to solve Rinne, the Predators had already staked claim to a 4-0 lead. The Oilers added a pair of power-play goals late, but it was Rinne’s work early in the game that sealed the win – stopping 13-of-13 shots in the first period and all 16 shots in the second period to allow Nashville to race out to the big lead.
Rinne’s performance came a night after Ellis out-dueled Canadian Olympian Roberto Luongo at Vancouver. With the game tied 2-2, Ellis turned aside the final 16 shots fired in his direction, including a highlight reel save on Mason Raymond to deny a Vancouver three-on-one rush. Ellis held the defensive end, setting the stage for Shea Weber’s game-winner with 4:03 remaining in regulation.
The tag-team performances by the Preds goaltending tandem has moved Nashville into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoff race (actually one point ahead of Northwest Division leading Calgary, the No. 3 seed in the conference).
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
After Edmonton netminder Jeff Deslauriers made a big stop in tight, the puck came back to Weber at the point and he blasted a shot glove-side for his ninth of the year.
Goc later fished a puck away from Tom Gilbert in front and beat Deslauriers with a quick backhand to make it 2-0.
Nashville made it 3-0 with less than a minute to play in the period. A shot by Jones went wide but was picked up behind the net and hooked in by Dumont as Deslauriers got tripped up in his own skates and couldn't get over.
The Predators went ahead 4-0 seven minutes into the second when Hornqvist took a feed from Goc from behind the net and beat Deslauriers for his 18th of the season. Devan Dubnyk replaced Deslauriers after the fourth Predators goal on 14 shots.
"It was a lot of the same," Edmonton assistant captain Sheldon Souray said. "There were a lot of turnovers. It's definitely deflating."
The Oilers finally snapped Pekka Rinne's shutout bid on their 34th shot of the game, seven minutes into the third period as Jacques' wrist shot sneaked through his pads to make it 4-1.
Potulny made it 4-2 with five minutes left on the game's first power play before the Predators put the game away for good with three minutes left on a power-play goal of their own from Jones.
"It's still about turnovers for us," Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. "Good hockey teams don't double-cross themselves."
Notes: Penner rounded out the scoring with another power-play goal with just 21 seconds left for the Oilers. ... It was the Oilers' first game since a four-day minicamp the team held to try working itself out of its recent funk. The Oilers had originally planned a golf trip to Palm Springs. ... The Oilers were without F Gilbert Brule (flu). ... Edmonton had defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky back in the lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury. ... Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury.
More Nashville Notes: Marcel Goc set a new career-high with his ninth goal of the season ... The Predators had a goal waived off mid-way through the third period due to a deflection with a high stick ... Six Preds skaters recorded multi-point nights, including a career-high three points for Ryan Jones ... The Predators are 5-1-0 in Canada this season.