The Edmonton Oilers and Ilya Bryzgalov shut out the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, as the Preds fall to 3-1-0 in games played on Thanksgiving.
After a scoreless first period, Paul Gaustad and David Perron were both sitting in the penalty box as the Oilers tallied two four-on-four goals to take a 2-0 lead just 6:23 into the middle frame.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tipped a Jeff Petry shot past Marek Mazanec for his sixth goal of the year at 5:32. Then, just 51 seconds later, Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall broke into the Preds zone, two-on-one, as Gagner found the streaking Hall for the Oilers second goal of the game. The Preds stepped it up late in the period, but they took a blow when Shea Weber, who was leading the team with five shots at the time, was struck in the face by a deflected puck and did not return.
Nashville continued to keep the pressure on in the final frame, but Bryzgalov was up to the task, turning away multiple scoring chances. Edmonton sealed the win with 57 seconds remaining as Jordan Eberle picked up a loose puck near center ice, and deposited it in the empty Nashville goal.
Two Things and Notes:
Shots, Shots, Shots: The Predators put 33 shots on goal – an eight-game high – and hit double digit shots in all three periods. Nashville last broke the 30-shot plateau on Nov. 16 in the 7-2 victory over Chicago (30). Nine different Nashville skaters had multiple shots on goal, led by Shea Weber and Mike Fisher (five) and all 18 had a shot attempt (shot on goal, attempt blocked, or miss) on the night. The Preds have now outshot their opponents in back-to-back games (29-19 at Columbus on Nov. 27) after being outshot in five of their previous six games.
Penalty Kill: Once again, Nashville’s penalty kill stymied one of the League’s top power-play units, after holding Edmonton (10th) scoreless on three opportunities on Thursday night. The Preds have held the opposition power play scoreless in seven straight games. It is the second time through 24 games the penalty kill has gone seven games without allowing a power-play goal (seven games from Oct. 12-24 & six games from Nov. 16-28). Nashville’s penalty kill has held the opposition scoreless on their last 19 times shorthanded, last allowing a power-play goal on Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh, and have only surrendered three power-play goals on 35 times shorthanded in their last 10 outings. The Preds’ penalty kill ranks ninth in the League (84.5 percent), and has allowed the ninth-fewest power-play goals (13). Nashville’s home penalty kill continues to improve as it now ranks in the top half of the League (83.3 percent, tied for 14th).
Nashville won the faceoff battle by a margin of 29 to 24. The team leads the NHL in faceoff efficiency at 55.1 percent.
Marek Mazanec was again strong in goal for Nashville, stopping 25 of 27 shots. The loss was just his second in seven games. He is among the League leaders in both goals-against average (2.01) and save percentage (.934).
Despite leaving the game due to injury, Shea Weber tied for the team lead with Mike Fisher in shots on goal with five and in hits with four (tied with Paul Gaustad and Gabriel Bourque).
Defenseman Victor Bartley had a game-high five blocked shots.
Both David Legwand and Matt Cullen were over 60 percent in the faceoff circle. Cullen is ranked fourth in the NHL at 58.6 percent.