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Arnott's OT goal gives Preds another victory

by Brian Compton
Jason Arnott found another way for the Nashville Predators to win.

The captain scored a power-play goal at 2:31 of overtime, lifting the Predators to a 6-5 win against the Edmonton Oilers at the Sommet Center on Tuesday night. It was Nashville's fifth straight victory -- a season high -- and the NHL's longest current streak.

More important, the streak has allowed the surging Predators to move from 14th in the Western Conference at the start of February into a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference. Nashville is tied with Edmonton and Anaheim, a 3-2 overtime loser to Chicago, with 68 points apiece.

"Guys have stayed with it and stayed persistent, which we talk about,'' Preds coach Barry Trotz said. ''Just stay persistent every night and good things can happen. You go up the ladder. As we said to the guys, you have to go up the ladder one rung at a time, and Edmonton was the one we had to get to. In getting the two points and them getting one, we're right with them now."

Meanwhile, the Oilers lost for the second time in three games and their first game without captain Ethan Moreau, who is out with an injured right eye. Erik Cole scored with 6:08 remaining in regulation to tie it at 5-5 after Andrew Cogliano and Jean-Francois Jacques scored within the first 5:15 of the period to put the Oilers up 4-3. Sam Gagner had a goal and two assists.

"At least we got a point out of it,'' Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said.

Nashville outshot Edmonton 43-28 and had all three shots in overtime. The Predators were awarded a power play when Oilers defenseman Jason Strudwick was called for high-sticking J.P. Dumont in the corner, which led to Arnott's 27th goal of the season.

Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson appeared hurt and didn't have his stick when the puck bounced out to the right circle, where Arnott teed up a slap shot that caught the top right corner. Arnott said he hurt Roloson on his previous shot because the goalie went down.

''He was just scrambling all over the place, and I just tried to get it on net. I knew (defenseman Sheldon) Souray was coming out to block it, so I had to get it by him. That's a big body. I missed a few open-netters tonight so it was nice to get that one,'' Arnott said.

The offensively challenged Predators came in having scored 17 goals in their last three games. David Legwand kept up the scoring by scoring twice in the first period, giving him 19 goals on the season.

''This is an exciting time to play hockey, with the end of the season being in the mix,'' Legwand said. "The teams that are out of it probably aren't having as much fun as we are.''

The fans certainly had a lot fun as they witnessed a game that featured four lead changes and five ties. Ryan Suter broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play goal 4:13 into the second, but the Oilers responded with back-to-back goals early in the third by Cogliano and Jacques.

"It's a tough one to lose, but at this point we can't really look back,'' Edmonton forward Dustin Penner said.

Nashville then went back in front on two goals in a 70-second span by veteran forward Steve Sullivan, but Cole sent the game to overtime when he beat Pekka Rinne at 13:52. Rinne allowed three goals on 10 shots in the third.

''I almost gave it away with a soft goal at the end,'' said Rinne, who is 12-0-1 when his team scores three or more goals.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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