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Nashville Predators 4, Edmonton Oilers 1: Ekholm Scores Twice, Preds On A Streak

The Predators are on a win streak!

Facing a depleted Edmonton Oilers team on Saturday night, the Preds pulled out a 4-1 win to keep pace in the playoff race. Pekka Rinne had 23 saves in what was a solid, solid performance. Mattias Ekholm got a huge goal early, answering the Oilers’ initial tally. From there, the Predators played great defensive hockey, backed up by the best game from Pekka Rinne in a long time.

Mattias Ekholm (x2), Mike Fisher, and Filip Forsberg scored for the Predators. Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers.

This game turned on Pekka Rinne’s performance. He had to make several huge, high-danger saves at key moments of the game. Those saves built his confidence as the game went on and he began to look like the Rinne we’ve seen in the past. The rest of the team seemed fueled by Rinne’s play as well, which was great to see.

Random Observations

  • Slowww start to this one. Not many scoring chances for either team in the 1st 10 minutes. James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok had the best chances for the Preds, getting the puck in front of Cam Talbot, but sending the puck wide of the net.
  • Leon Draisaitl gets a fortunate bounce in front of Rinne and backhands it home for the opening score. Draisaitl cut across the goal and Weber moved to poke-check, but the puck got away and Draisaitl found some room over Rinne’s right shoulder. Skill, plus a little bit of luck, and it’s 1-0 Edmonton.
  • MATTY ECK! A furious response by the Preds, as they pounce on the puck multiple times in the Edmonton crease. Ekholm gathered the puck and sent a fluttering shot towards Talbot that somehow squeezed through. Really important tying goal there.
  • Whoa. What a strange goal. Ekholm shoots the puck from the blue-line and it goes high, deflects off of an Edmonton helmet, falls into the goalie gear of Talbot, slips into a quantum wormhole, and then ends up in the Edmonton net. So weird. Preds lead!
  • Sure, that last goal was bizarre, but how about Ekholm, eh? The guy has been great all year, but especially since the Jones-Johansen trade. He has really stepped into this new role and played well. Awesome to see.
  • Safe to say that this is the most discussion I’ve heard about Matt Hendricks‘ junk.
  • RyJo with a bad roughing penalty. His first since being on the team, I think. Oilers can’t capitalize on the power-play though and the Preds still lead.
  • Rinne with some huge saves through 2 periods, with several being of the high-danger variety. The pads and glove look sharp tonight.
  • Fisher!! Wow, that was impressive. Mike Fisher deflected a Shea Weber pass up and over the glove of Talbot. Fantastic. Beautiful. It’s 3-1 Preds.
  • I was just thinking it was about time for Mike Fisher to get on board. That’s his first goal since returning from injury. He’s been shuffled around quite a bit. Really hope the Preds can get some solid production from him in the 2nd half of this season.
  • “Pakarinen with the shot on Pekke Rinne” is fun.
  • Preds playing great opportunistic hockey right now. Not generating a ton of chances, but doing the most with the chances they’ve made. They may not exceed 25 shots in this one and are up 3-1 late in the 3rd.
  • Rinne with a “remember me?” performance tonight. Quick, quick glove. Just robbed Reinhart on a wrist shot and got a “whoooooaaaa” from yours truly.
  • Zack Kassian goon alert. Committed probably 3-4 penalties on Ryan Ellis, though he only got called for elbowing and a game misconduct. What a punk.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Pekka Rinne: Again, this win started with him. He only had to make 23 saves, but the quality of those saves were the difference. Excellent play, big guy.
  • Mattias Ekholm: 2 goals, one of which was a bizarre Plinko-style goal that was more of a fluke than anything. Still, he played great. Josi-like out there.
  • Mike Fisher: Quick hands on that huge 3rd goal. Need him to do that more often./

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