Preds return home to continue winning ways

Nashville, TN, United States / The Game Nashville
Preds return home to continue winning ways

They’re baaaaack.

Tuesday night was their first time in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena since October 25. In celebration of returning home, the Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2.

“I was concerned a little bit,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “Going into the game having just come off of the long road trip. Historically it’s meant a flat period for the home team. So I think our guys did a really good job of conquering that.”

Nashville got goals from Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and Matt Cullen while Edmonton got on the scoresheet via Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov.

“[Our top] line seems to have it going right now,” Laviolette said. “But other lines, like Cullen’s goal, they’re pushing the puck around the offensive zone and they’re hunting. That’s a good thing.”

Pekka Rinne was stellar when he had to be, accumulating 21 saves and improving to 10-2-1.

For just the fifth time this season, Nashville opened the scoring. Ribeiro tallied just 2:51 into the contest, the earliest of the year for the Preds.

After a flurry in the Edmonton end off the faceoff, Matt Cullen was falling down in front of the Edmonton crease but was will able to get his stick on the puck. He had just enough space between Viktor Fasth’s skate and the post to tuck it into the net and put his team up 2-0 early.

Nashville wasn’t done yet. In the final minute of the opening frame — and after a long shift — Filip Forsberg bagged his seventh goal (and 17th point) of the season to make it 3-0.

“I was just trying to stay on the forecheck,” Forsberg said. “I got the puck and just threw it in there and tried to get it on the net. I was pretty tired so I was just lucky that it went in.”

Coming out of the locker room for the second, Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins tried to spark his club by pulling Fasth in favor of Ben Scrivens. It paid immediate dividends as Benoit Pouliot skated into the slot and unleashed a lethal wrist shot that beat Rinne to pull the Oilers within two.

With just a few minutes remaining in the period, Edmonton struck again. With Paul Gasutad draped all over him, David Perron delivered a beautiful cross-crease pass to Nail Yakupov who was standing back door. The former top overall pick slammed it past Rinne to make the Oilers deficit one.

“I don’t think we did the best job of it tonight,” Ryan Ellis said about focusing after going up 3-0. “They obviously came out hard in the second and they got two there. The game got a lot closer.”

Nashville held the fort in the final stanza and sent Edmonton packing without a point in the standings.

“In the third we put it in lock down mode,” Ellis said. “Guys are sacrificing and blocking shots and doing the simple things. It doesn’t look fancy at times but it gets the job done.”

“Sometimes you have to win a game 3-2,” Laviolette said. “I was happy with the third period in the sense that our guys kept competing and kept playing.”

The Predators will now try to do the unthinkable. They’ll try to beat the Central Division-rival Blues twice in a five-day span. In St. Louis, no less. Before the 2-1 victory last Saturday night, Nashville had lost six straight to the Blues.

Puck drops at 7:00pm Central and you can catch all the action on 102.5 The Game.

MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 5:30 remaining in regulation):
1. Filip Forsberg (NSH)
2. Mike Ribeiro (NSH)
3. Ben Scrivens (EDM)

THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Filip Forsberg (NSH)
2. Mike Ribeiro (NSH)
3. Ben Scrivens (EDM)

Your November 11, 2014 installment of Five Minute Overtime:

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // TheGameNashville.com

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