It took the Nashville Predators a while to get to work offensively, but at 11:34 into the second period, Shea Weber scored sharp-side on Nikolai Khabibulin to tie the game at one against the Edmonton Oilers. After Nashville's goal, the Oilers were hardly able to muster anymore opportunities on Preds' backup goaltender Anders Lindback.
Nashville's tally in the third period to make the score 2-1 turned out to be the game-winner, and the Predators ended a four-game winless streak.
Nashville suffered a 4-1 loss in Detroit on Saturday and came into Edmonton seeking revenge for a 6-2 loss last Tuesday against the same Oilers. Meanwhile, the Oilers weren't doing too hot themselves, losing not only the game, but also Taylor Hall, in a 5-2 Colorado win, pushing Edmonton to 4-6-0 in their last 10 games.
So in the battle between the two struggling teams, things started slowly. By 6:34 into the first period, the Predators had two shots to the Oilers' zero. It took the Oilers until about seven minutes in to earn their first scoring chance -- where Jordan Eberle took full advantage of the first successful forechecking effort and and scored for the early 1-0 lead for the home team.
The second period rendered uneventful until three penalties were amassed on one play at 6:35: Theo Peckham and Jordin Tootoo went off for matching minors, while Ryan Jones went off for Edmonton for an elbowing major which took out Blake Geoffrion for the rest of the game.
The hit is on the far right behind the net as Khabibulin makes a save:
The ensuing five-minute power play for Nashville turned out to be the sloppiest man-advantage situation, as for the first 20 seconds, the Predators barely had possession, leading to an interference call on Sergei Kostitsyn, and evening out the situation again. However, while you'd probably think the Oilers would have used this opportunity for more offense, the Preds took over and barraged Khabibulin with shots on the 4-on-4 and then the abbreviated 4-on-3. The Bulin Wall did his best to keep making saves, including many where he had to stretch across the entire crease.
Despite Khabibulin's efforts, though, Shea Weber scored sharp-side in the waning seconds of Nashville's portion of the power play time to get his squad back into the game.
Edmonton had a few good chances to get back into the game as the final period arose, but the Predators continued to keep them at bay. After a few more good cycles and work along the boards, Nick Spalding, from Tootoo and team-leading scorer Craig Smith, put the game away for Nashville, scoring the deciding goal.
The Oilers did a solid job of forechecking in the first half of the game. But starting in the second period, all that changed. Nashville did not give up and made the most of their re-established forecheck in the second period and on, earning more chances than the Oilers and outshooting them 16-7 in the middle frame, 31-18 by the game's end. Whether it was Barry Trotz giving his team something to chew on between the first and second periods, their shutdown of Edmonton's physical play or the momentum from scoring on the lengthy power play, Nashville found a way to win and snap their losing streak.