Photo courtesy of Edmonton Oilers
Predators forward Rich Peverley protects the puck from Oilers defenseman Matt Greene while emerging from behind Edmonton's net.
The Nashville Predators shut out the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 Saturday night at Rexall Place. Nashville, who led 1-0 after one period, scored twice in a 25-second span to build a 3-0 cushion by the second intermission. The Predators widened the gap to 4-0 early in the third. Forwards Alexander Radulov and Vern Fiddler each scored a goal and an assist while center Peter Forsberg collected two helpers. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped all 26 Edmonton shots to record his fifth shutout of the season.
With the win, Nashville improves to 48-21-7 and opens up a three-point lead on the Detroit Red Wings for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Predators' 103 points pulls them into a tie with the Buffalo Sabres for the No. 1 ranking in the league standings. Nashville completed a three-game road trip Saturday and now returns home for a five-game homestand that begins with a Tuesday night rematch with the Oilers.
Leading 1-0, the Predators started the second period with a pair of power plays--their second and third of the game. Nashville capitalized on the second penalty of the period--a tripping call to Raffi Torres--to go up 2-0. With the Preds set up in the offensive zone, captain Kimmo Timonen sent the puck through the slot to Forsberg in the right circle. Forsberg kicked the pass from his skates to his stick and then flung the puck back to Weber for a blast from the high slot. The shot beat goaltender Jussi Markkanen for Weber's 16th tally of the season at 6:08 of the second.
Less than 30-seconds later, forwards David Legwand and J.P. Dumont forced an Edmonton turnover in the offensive zone, allowing Legwand to set up defenseman Ryan Suter for a shot at the left point. Suter's slapshot was deflected twice en route to the Oilers' goal, first hitting Zachery Stortini then Mathieu Roy before bouncing through the legs of Markkanen and across the goal line. That made it 3-0 at the 6:33 mark of the second.
Fiddler extended the margin to 4-0 just 2:38 into the third. Following a face-off win by Nashville in the defensive zone, Fiddler shipped the puck up to rookie winger Radulov at center ice. Radulov made a shifty move to send a lateral pass to a streaking Marek Zidlicky, who quickly sent the puck wide left to lead Fiddler on left wing. Fiddler had room to tee up a shot at the top of the left circle and overpowered Markkanen for his 11th goal of the season.
Though Edmonton edged Nashville in shots 12-10 over the opening 20 minutes, Radulov was the only player to find the back of the net. His goal, which came 4:28 into the game, was the result of an offensive zone face-off win by Forsberg. Radulov entered the face-off circle to assist Forsberg, sending the loose puck back to Weber inside the blue line. Weber's straight-on shot glanced off of Markkanen and bounced wide of the right goal post. Forsberg was in position to attempt to pull the puck back and tuck it into the net. He was unable to finish the play but the puck continued into the slot where an oncoming Radulov lifted it over Markkanen.
NOTES: The Predators set a team record by recording their 22nd road win Saturday... Nashville outscored the Oilers 1-0 in the first period and 2-0 in second. The Preds have now outscored the opposition by 35 goals in both first and second periods this season... Nashville posted a team-record 11th shutout Saturday and first since Feb. 14. Tomas Vokoun recorded his fifth of the season in the win, matching Chris Mason's shutout total this season. The Predators become the first team with two goalies posting five or more shutouts since Tony Esposito (9) and Gary Smith (5) did it with Chicago in 1971-72... Nashville's four goals vs. Edmonton were the most since Mar. 8. The Predators had scored 11 goals in previous six games... Alexander Radulov's two points (1g-1a) give him 33 for the season, tying Martin Erat's franchise record for points by a rookie... Peter Forsberg has two assists in each of the last two games... Edmonton native Vern Fiddler has scored a goal in each of the three games vs. the Oilers this season... Nashville is one win away from equaling last season's franchise record 49 wins... Captain Kimmo Timonen posted a power-play assist for his team-leading 26th power-play point... Nashville was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill Saturday and has now killed 41 of 45 over last 10 games... Martin Erat, Scott Nichol, Steve Sullivan and Jordin Tootoo were scratches for Nashville, which dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards.