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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Predators

by Karmela Arocena / Edmonton Oilers

After falling in a disappointing 5-0 defeat Friday night against the St. Louis Blues, the Oilers were looking to establish a solid offensive game in the team's search for a rebound result. Although the Oilers got things rolling early courtesy of an Ales Hemsky goal at 1:05 of the opening period, Boston would take over from that point and impose their will on the emotionally stubborn hometown club.

The Oilers started a four game homestand with two disappointing losses against the Blues and Bruins, and were looking to secure another win against the Nashville Predators, a team they had shutout 4-0 in February.  It was the Oilers first game since trading power forward Dustin Penner.  With the absence of Penner, the younger Oilers were forced to step up and fill his role.

The first period started off slow for the Oilers, where they were being out shot 14-3 thirteen minutes into the game.  Nashville got on the board first, but Jim Vandermeer tied it at one just 41 seconds later with a seeing-eye shot that got past traffic and eventually past goaltender Pekka Rinne.  The first period ended with the game tied at one, which was impressive considering the Oilers were being outshot 18-7 after the first 20 minutes.

The score remained tied at one through the next two periods, as well as the OT session.  In the ensuing shootout session, Jordan Eberle and Linus Omark scored for the Oilers, which proved to be enough for a win.

Martin Gerber was in goal tonight, stopping 34 of 35 shots and 3 of 4 shootout chances.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

Game Recap | Oilers This Week  | Post-Game Interviews Highlights  |  Post-Game Audio

Spirited play from the Oilers in the third period sparked a comeback for the young team after having lost 30 goal scorer Dustin Penner.  The Oilers were outplayed in the first two periods, being outshot 30-13 after the first 40 minutes.  However a flurry of chances, sparked by a powerplay opportunity midway through the final frame gave the team momentum.  They continued putting pressure on the Predators into the OT, and when the shootout came, stellar play by Martin Gerber, and the young guns stepping up to score, helped power the Oilers to a win.

44 The Oilers were able to muster up a 44% efficiency rate in the faceoff dot tonight.  Gilbert Brule had a very good night taking draws tonight, winning all three of his contests.
3 Though he has played few games this season in the NHL, Martin Gerber makes the most of his time in the big leagues.  The puckstopper is 3-0 in the three games he's played this season.
45 Both the Oilers and Predators had issues managing the puck tonight.  Together, the two teams combined for 45 giveaways, 21 for the Oilers and 24 fort the Preds.
33 A physical night for the Oilers was prevalent as the team threw 33 hits.  Gilbert Brule led the team in hits, registering 6 on the night.

Martin Gerber
35 34 1 65:00 .971

Jim Vandermeer
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 1

Mike Fisher
G A P +/- Shots
0 0 0 E 5

Pekka Rinne
26 25 1 64:41 .962

Martin Gerber
35 34 1 65:00 .971

Shea Weber - D

27:56 - 3 shots, +1 rating

Jim Vandermeer - D

24:05 - 1P, +1 rating

While Linus Omark will always have more to his game than his shootout abilities, he is definitely well known for his breakaway moves in Oil Country.  While waiting for his chance to shoot, the crowd at Rexall got to their feet and started to cheer the Swedish forward as he prepared for his shot.  While a spin-o-rama was not on his agenda tonight, Omark still sneakily poke the puck through Rinne's five-hole.  The chance eventually won the game for the Oilers.

Martin Gerber made his first start since November 29, 2010 in this game, and despite not playing an NHL game since late last year, his effort was worthy of MVP status.  In a game where the Oilers were vastly outshot x-x, Gerber kept the play alive by stopping x of x shots.  His ability to stymie the Predators attack when needed kept the game tied for a majority of the game.  He also stepped up in the shootout stopping 3 of 4 chances, eventually leading the Oilers to a 2-1 shootout victory.

Ryan Jones continues to be a reliable asset for the Oilers, which was demonstrated again tonight.  Against his former team, Jones showed grit and tenacity by registering 4 hits.  He also was creating chances throughout his 14:54 of ice time, and ended up a +1 on the evening.

Richard Petiot was called up prior to tonight's game, and the Alberta-born defenceman was clearly trying to leave an impression on the coaching staff in his first game up with the big club.  At 11:37, Petiot laid out a huge hit on Nashville's Patric Hornqvist, sending Nashville winger to the ice.

Martin Gerber has played immensely well for the Oilers this season.  In his three games with the team, the Swiss goaltender has stopped 91 of 95 shots, allowed only 4 goals, and has an impressive save percentage of .958.

"He's a sneaky bastard on the shootout, that's for sure.  He has a really good eye, really good timing.  It's not the first time I saw him do that.  He did it yesterday in practice and it worked."

-  Oilers goaltender Martin Gerber on Linus Omark's game winning shootout goal.

Thursday, March 3 vs. Columbus
  7:00pm MST (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

The Oilers hope to complete their four game homestand Thursday night with another win where they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The game will be the Oilers Fan Appreciation Night. Tickets still available.

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