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Oilers dispose of Predators 4-2

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Nashville had the first four shots of the game, but Edmonton had the best scoring chance early on after a nice move by Hemsky set up Shawn Horcoff on a point-blank shot from the high slot. Vokoun had to be sharp in turning it away.

The Oilers' second quality scoring chance came four minutes later as Michael Peca emerged from the penalty box, springing himself and Jarret Stoll on a two-on-one. Vokoun slide across to make a nice pad-stack save off Stoll after Peca fed him in the low slot.

Ales Hemsky almost broke the deadlock after Mark Eaton gave the puck away to Ryan Smyth, sending him and Hemsky in on a two-on-one. Smyth fed Hemsky who managed to deke out Vokoun but couldn't sneak the puck in along the right post.

Shots on goal after one were 13-12 in favour of Nashville but the Oilers had the majority of scoring chances.

Edmonton struck for its first of the night 1:08 into the second. Shawn Horcoff picked up the puck at the left faceoff circle, spun and fired it past Vokoun to make it 1-0 Oilers.

Nashville responded just over a minute later as Lloydminster's Scott Hartnell teed up a blast from the left point that beat Markkanen clean glove side.

Markkanen redeemed himself a minute later on a Predators power play, making a nice glove stop off Paul Kariya. He was sharp again on that same man advantage, sticking out a left pad after an Adam Hall centering pass hit a skate before being directed on goal.

7:30 into the middle frame, the Oilers went on a two-man advantage for 49 seconds following a Marek Zidlicky holding-the-stick penalty and a too-many-men bench minor.

Nashville's penalty killers did an outstanding job killing off the disadvantage but just as the bench minor expired, Jason Smith rifled point shot past a screened Vokoun to give Edmonton a 2-1 lead.

Late in the period, Kariya was denied on a backhand tip from the slot as Markkanen dropped down to block the low shot.

Matt Greene and Jordin Tootoo exchanged some blows after Tootoo blindsided Greene with a borderline hit. Greene dropped the gloves to try and make Tootoo accountable for his efforts. He got two for roughing and inexplicably two for interference to put Nashville on a four-minute power play.

With slightly less than two minutes remaining in Greene's penalty, Shawn Horcoff broke into the Predators zone and tried to split Adam Hall and Dan Hamhuis. While he was unsuccessful in his scoring attempt, he did draw a holding and tripping penalty against Hamhuis.

Shots on goal in the second were 25-20 in favour of Edmonton after the Oilers outshot their opponents 13-7 in the middle frame.

1:23 into the third, Tomas Vokoun threw his stick to thwart an Oilers goal during the goalmouth scramble. The result was a penalty shot awarded to Ryan Smyth.

On the most exciting play in hockey, Smyth managed to deke around Vokoun and put the puck just beyond his right pad for the goal.

Georges Laraque had a breakaway attempt six minutes into the period but was denied on a Vokoun pokecheck. The play continued and Laraque had another chance in the slot but shot wide.

Nashville's Martin Erat came oh-so-close to scoring late in the period. He had the puck along on the right side of Markkanen, firing a shot on what looked to be a wide open net but the Oilers netminder dove across to keep it out.

A minute later, the Oilers had some trouble clearing their own zone, eventually resulting in Steve Sullivan scoring to close the gap to 3-2.

With four minutes left to make a comeback, the Predators shot themselves in the foot by running into some penalty trouble.

Jarret Stoll ripped a shot past Vokoun during a two-man advantage to squash any hope of a Predators comeback.

NOTES: Matt Greene made his NHL debut, suiting up for the Oilers. Cory Cross was scratched in his place... Jamie Allison was the lone healthy scratch for Nashville... Ryan Smyth's penalty shot goal was the third of his career and second of the season. He is two for three... Jarret Stoll now leads the Oilers with eight power play goals... the Oilers allowed less than three goals in a game for the first time since December 12 (2-1 shootout loss at New Jersey) - a span of seven games... Meanwhile, Nashville failed to score three goals for the first time since a 5-1 loss over the NY Rangers December 8.
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