Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nashville Squanders Chance at Two Points

It's the first game on a road trip that's right in the thick of things as far as the Western Conference playoff chase goes against the worst team in the National Hockey League. Sounds like the makings of a much needed victory right? Apparently not.

The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Nashville Predators by a 2-1 score in a game that was decided by a shootout. The game started out at a pretty good pace by both teams. Nashville would take the lead at 12:45 of the 1st period when Blake Geoffrion scored his first career NHL goal. The play was set up by Ryan Suter who made a marvelous effort just to get the puck down there. It was a great moment in Nashville sports because Geoffrion is the first native Nashvillian to score a goal in the NHL.

Edmonton would respond, however, just 41 seconds later when Jim Vandermeer blasted one past Pekka Rinne. That would be all of the scoring for the remainder of regulation.

The game would eventually move along to the shootout where Jordan Eberle struck first for the Oilers. Martin Erat would respond for the Preds to even up the shootout at one after the first round. David Legwand had a chance to end it when he beat Martin Gerber but missed the net entirely on the backhand. That's the 2nd time this season that Legwand has missed the open net in a shootout on the backhand when he had the chance to put the game away. Linus Omark would score for Edmonton on a beautiful goal, and Cody Franson would miss for the Preds to give the Oilers the victory.

Nashville did not show a great sense of urgency for a team that is in the middle of the playoff hunt. So many quality scoring chances were passed up by taking no shot at all. The Preds have a scoring problem. One way to fix that might be to actually shoot the puck when you have an opportune chance staring you in the face.

The Preds will take on the best team in the NHL in Vancouver on Thursday night. I'd actually rather play the top teams than teams like the Oilers at this point. The Preds obviously would rather be somewhere else when they're playing teams that aren't in the playoff picture, so why not go right after the top dog? Maybe some desire might actually be shown on Thursday night. Harsh words? Maybe. I'd sure love to be proven wrong though.

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