Legwand has an assist on Martin Erat's first-period goal and scored in the second Tuesday night as the Predators topped the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 to move into sixth place in the Western Conference playoff scramble.
"David has so much ability," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "When he is playing the way he is now, he is a very good player. In this game, he was the best player on the ice. ... We wouldn't be in the position we are in now if David had not stepped up."
Legwand, the first draft selection in franchise history, has never been a big scorer but has always been known as a solid defensive player. His line usually is paired against the opposition's best offensive line.
"David gets all the tough assignments," Trotz said. "He is playing against top lines every night along with his linemates Martin Erat and Joel Ward."
But with the Preds in a battle for a playoff berth in the West, Legwand's offensive skills have come alive. He has 3 goals and 6 points in Nashville's last four games and 5 goals and 15 points in the last 13.
"David has recognized two things," said Trotz, the only coach in franchise history. "Early in the season, he sometimes looks at the 82 games and gets off to a little bit of a slow start. As he hits his stride and games get more and more important, he seems to elevate his level."
The Predators have won four in a row and five of their last six games. Edmonton, last in the overall standings, lost for the seventh straight time.
"I don't think we quite believed that we could do it here," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "I think that is how we started, unfortunately, because once we started to apply ourselves we were able to get some ice back, get some sort of an attack going and give our opponent at least something to think about."
Erat opened the scoring at 4:08. Ward, on the left side, pulled Dubnyk out of position and hit Erat with a pass as he skated down the right side. Erat easily put the puck in the open side of the net with a wrist shot from close range.
Legwand made it 3-0 at the 7-minute mark of the second period when he skated through the slot and beat Devan Dubnyk with a backhander to his stick side.
Edmonton managed only 20 shots against Pekka Rinne, but scored at 9:38 of the second period on the power play. Jordan Eberle, stationed near the left side of the net, controlled a rebound that bounced off Rinne's pads and fired it past his stick.
Trotz gave the Predators mixed reviews for their performance.
"Our guys ramped it up early and were able to capitalize," Trotz said. "We got away from it a little bit in the second, but we put it back together in the third.
"We managed the game all right and we won. That is what you want to do."Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Martin Erat (15) Wrist shot - ASST: Joel Ward (18), David Legwand (24)|
1 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Patric Hornqvist (19) Snap shot - ASST: Sergei Kostitsyn (23), Ryan Suter (32)|
2 - 0 NSH
|David Legwand (14) Backhand shot - ASST: Ryan Suter (33), Shea Weber (29)|
3 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Jordan Eberle (17) Wrist shot - ASST: Andrew Cogliano (20), Jim Vandermeer (11)|
3 - 1 NSH
|Kurtis Foster Tripping against Jerred Smithson|
|Sergei Kostitsyn Tripping against Magnus Paajarvi|
|Cody Franson Interference against Alexandre Giroux|
|Theo Peckham Tripping against Jerred Smithson|
|Ryan O'Marra Hooking against Ryan Suter|
|Mike Fisher Tripping against Teemu Hartikainen|