Defense set the tone for the Predators with goaltender Pekka Rinne making 27 saves for his first win of the season and defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber each posting multi-point nights to lead Nashville to a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night at Sommet Center.
Pekka Rinne was sharp, setting the tone early in the game by stoning Erik Cole on a breakaway attempt 1:20 into the game. Later in the game he robbed Andrew Cogliano on a quick snap shot alone from 12-feet out and then shouldered aside a Shawn Horcoff blast from a similar location with 5:13 remaining in the game. The only goal he would allow came on the three-on-five situation – and he very nearly prevented that score as well.
Weber allowed the Preds to open the scoring 9:59 into the game when his blast from the center ice along the blueline was tipped by Patric Hornqvist. Jason Arnott started the play with an offensive zone faceoff win. Ryan Suter slid a pass from the right wing boards to Weber in the middle point area. Weber unloaded a quick shot with Hornqvist setting the screen in front of the net, Hornqvist’s second goal of the season.
Weber netted a goal of his own 1:28 into the second period with a similar blast that beat Edmonton’s Mathieu Garon clean. Similar to the first goal, Suter triggered the play with a d-to-d pass from the right wing, Weber’s fourth goal of the year. Paired together this season, Suter and Weber have combined for five goals and 19 points through the team’s first 10 games of the season.
The Oilers halved the Preds lead at the 3:18 mark of the second period on Sheldon Souray’s five-on-three power-play goal. Horcoff fed Souray at the top of the right faceoff circle while Ales Hemsky set a screen from the top of the goal crease. Souray’s high blast deflected off Rinne’s shoulder, but trickled into the net, Souray’s second goal of the season.
J.P. Dumont, who assisted on Weber’s goal early in the second period, nearly gave the Preds a two-goal advantage 4:54 into the third frame when his shot from the right wing trickled through Garon’s right arm, but squirted just wide of the far post. Ville Koistinen rang a shot off the inside of the far post two and half minutes later.
Nashville would add to its lead midway through the final period on Martin Erat's fifth goal of the season. Ryan Jones was robbed by Garon on the edge of the goal crease the play before, but David Legwand won the ensuing faceoff. Jones made a strong play along the boards to retain possession of the puck and Legwand carried the play off the boards to the faceoff dot before sliding a pass to Erat alone between the faceoff circles. Erat burried the shot with 10:03 left to play to give the Preds the 3-1 lead.
The Predators finished the month of October with a 5-4-1 record. The team was 4-7-0 through October last season ... Nashville has scored at least 3 goals in 9 consecutive games, tied for the longest such streak in team history. The Predators also scored at least 3 goals in 9 straight games from Dec. 10 - 28, 2005. The longest streak last season was four games with at least three goals, accomplished twice ... J.P. Dumont extended his scoring streak to 6 consecutive games (2g, 6a) ... Ryan Suter recorded his second mult-point game of the season. Suter has a point in 3 consecutive games (0g, 4a), 1 game shy of his career-long set Jan. 19-24, 2008 ... Shea Weber posted his second multi-point game of the season ... Patric Hornqvist has points in all 3 games since being a healthy scratch for the Oct. 23 game vs. Calgary (1g, 2a). Hornqvist had 1 point in 6 games played prior to the Oct. 23 game ... Martin Erat has a 3 game scoring streak (2g, 1a). Erat has 4 goals in the last 5 games.
Post-Game Quotes Head Coach Barry Trotz On Shea Weber…
“First off, when he shoots, it’s going 100 miles per hour. Second, the puck is going on net. He’s not trying to pick a corner; he’s just shooting it on net.”
Concern on Pekka Rinne starting...
“I wasn’t concerned. I think last time he was trying so hard. You could see how nervous he was. Sometimes you just have to let them get through that first game and relax. He played very well tonight and made a huge save early in the game. We turned the puck over in our zone and Eric Cole went in on a breakaway real early. He made the save there and I think that gave him a lot of confidence. He made another great save late in the period on Shawn Horcoff. Pekka made a great save and after that I was pretty sure we were going to win the hockey game.”
On Dan Ellis’ stiff back…
“His back stiffened up on the plane ride back from Washington and having him sit out tonight was more precautionary than anything. We felt that since goalies have to be so ballistic, so for a back injury or a stiff back you don’t want him moving around like goalies need to. It created a great opportunity for Pekka, and he did a great job for us tonight.”
On the chemistry between Ryan Suter and Shea Weber…
“They are two young, emerging defensemen that are having a lot of success and playing well together. They are getting production and we are really happy with them.”
Regarding tonight’s defensive effort…
“We still had a few breakdowns, but we were much better than we had been for the 60 minutes. I thought we did a great job, which hasn’t been the case all the year. I thought for the last 10 minutes when we had that third goal we pretty much locked it down. They only had one chance but other than that I thought we did a great job of locking it down.”
On beating Edmonton nine times in a row…
“The media actually told me about that today. We have played them numerous times and they have all been very close games. I think we just match up well. We understand the mentality Edmonton has and I feel that we mirror each other in a lot of ways. Plus we have had really great goaltending efforts.”
Defenseman Shea Weber On his confidence level…
“It is just one of those games. I thought we came out and played hard. We did a good job on our own end.”
On playing better defense for 60 minutes…
“I think we did. There were still a couple lapses out there but I think we were a lot better. We were able to control our end much better. We kept good scoring chances out as well.”
Goaltender Pekka Rinne On this outing being better than his previous one this season…
“It was a big game for me and for my team. Obviously it feels good right now.”
On seeing a lot of shots but able to see them all fairly well…
“Guys really did a great job when I was not seeing the puck. They were blocking those shots. And when I was seeing the puck, they let it come through to me. It was a good job by them.”
On the game being a confidence booster…
“I do not have too many NHL games under my belt. It feels great to have a win and a play a good game.”
Forward David Legwand On how they came out in the first couple periods…
“We knew we wanted to come out strong with a big road trip coming up here soon. Getting these two points at home are huge. We know we have another big game Saturday and need to get points there before we go out on the road. We had to take advantage tonight early.”
On his assist tonight…
“I just came off the wall and saw Marty (Erat) there in the slot. It was big for us to get that goal.”
1 - 0 NSH