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Oilers Beat Predators; Edmonton Continues to Rise

After getting shut out 6-0 in their last game against the Nashville Predators, it’s safe to say that the Edmonton Oilers had something to prove in the March 17 game that took place on the Oilers’ home turf. They faced the Predators at Rexall Place with a much different result this time.

Sorry, Predators. No shut out tonight.

The first period had some great opportunities for both teams. Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk saved a shot by Nashville’s Gabriel Bourque about six minutes in; Jordan Eberle later stole a puck for a breakaway for a strong first shot of the game for the Oilers, but his shot was saved by Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. Ultimately, the first period ended scoreless.

The Oilers came into the second period strong and at 8:11 Magnus Paajarvi scored a power-play goal with assists by Whitney and Eberle. Paajarvi’s always strongest in the crease, and he definitely didn’t disappoint here.

Nashville retaliated with a goal at the end of the second period by Shea Weber.

The game seemed fairly even going into the third period – no one was getting horribly out shot, no one was making any huge mistakes. The Oilers were burned by the rallying Red Wings in their previous match, however, and understandably seemed determined to ensure the Predators wouldn’t gain any dangerous momentum after they managed to tie the game.  They were on guard lest the Predators pull a similar rallying effort as the Red Wings previously did.

Halfway into the third period, Edmonton’s Lennart Petrell scored a fantastic short-handed goal, which was followed five minutes later with a wrist shot goal by Eberle. The Oilers scored first in this game, and were eager to build up a lead again. The Predators’ Roman Josi managed to sink one more goal with ten seconds to go in the game, but it wasn’t enough to catch up. The Oilers triumphed, 3-2.

Dubnyk really shone throughout the game, but especially in the third period – despite getting outshot by the Predators 14 to 5, Dubnyk managed to hang on to the lead that the Oilers built.

Oilers Beat Predators Edmonton Continues to Rise
The Edmonton Oilers’ Magnus Paajarvi fights the Nashville Predators’ Victor Bartley for the puck in the March 17 game at Rexall Place.
(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Being shut out 6-0 by Nashville seemed to be the final straw for the Oilers in their road losing streak; their previous defeat by the Predators apparently provoked a new energy and determination in Edmonton which has been serving them well the past few games.

Taylor Hall commented on this shift in the team’s play, saying that “we’ve changed our style of play a little bit in these last four games, so it’s good to see results. This was an important win.”

It certainly was. Awhile ago, it was looking as if the Oilers had absolutely no shot at the playoffs. It seemed they wouldn’t be able to recover from the downward spiral the road trip losses were leading them on– but recover they did.

After the way they’ve turned things around the past few games, they’re definitely back in the race.

Jordan Eberle, one of the game’s goal scorers, interviewed that “it’s amazing how things can change. Five games ago it looked like we were out of the playoff picture and now we’re right back in it. Two points back? We’re right back in it.”

The Oilers have definitely hit on something in their playing style that’s working for them, and it’s paying off.

“Since that win against Chicago, there’s been a different swagger in the group,” Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said.

Well, go ahead – swagger right into those playoffs, I say.

Adrianna Szenthe

Adrianna Szenthe

Adrianna is a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Having previously worn blue and orange in a city of die-hard Canadiens supporters, she feels confident she can contend with a city of Blackhawks fans. While she defends her beloved Oilers, she is fond of reminding everyone that hockey was, after all, invented in Canada. Since she's not able to make a killer slapshot, writing about them seems the next best thing.
Adrianna Szenthe

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