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Preds finally solve those pesky Oilers, win 4th straight…

303 collects hats2

The last time the league’s worst team was inside Bridgestone Arena, they shutout the Nashville Predators, 4-0.

This time, however, it was the Preds who came out on top.

Nashville disposed of the Edmonton Oilers by the score of 3-1. The Predators had lost their last two games again the Oilers, a team they should clearly beat.

Nashville got goals from Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand in the victory, as well as 19 saves from Pekka Rinne.

Rinne, a Vezina Trophy candidate as the NHL’s top goaltender, has won five of his last six and has only allowed two goals in his last 142:18.

Rinne is now 28-20-8 on the season and the Predators are holding down sixth place in the Western Conference with 88 points (39-25-10). The Los Angeles Kings (ironically, the Preds last loss) also have 88 points but have played one less game.

If Nashville wants continued success, they need continued contributions from supporting cast members. Other than Blake Geoffrion, Erat, Legwand or Patric Hornqvist, the last Predator forward to score a goal was Colin Wilson on March 17. What happens if Geoffrion (4 goals in the month of March), Erat (5 goals), Legwand (4 goals) and Hornqvist (2 goals) stop scoring? Who’s Head Coach Barry Trotz going to call upon to score goals? The defensemen?

For now, however, they can just focus on Thursday’s hugely important game with the eighth place Anaheim Ducks. With a win over Dan Ellis and the Ducks, the Predators could potentially vault themselves into fifth and, of course, take two points away from an Anaheim team struggling to get into the post season after a horrindous start.

The puck drops at 7:05pm Central at Bridgestone Arena.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* Nashville has won six of their last seven.
* The Predators hadn’t won a Tuesday night game since January 18.
* Ryan Suter, who had two assists tonight, now has six points in his last four outings.
* Hornqvist, who had just one point in his last 11 games, now has three in his last three.
* Erat had an empty net goal called off because it was ruled he kicked it in.
* Rinne appeared to take a shot at the empty net but it was blocked in front by an Oilers player.
* Hornqvist now leads the team in game-winning goals (5).
* Predators fans who attended tonight’s game had the opportunity to celebrate Blake Geoffrion’s hat trick by bringing the hats they would’ve thrown on the ice Sunday to tonight’s game. Thanks to you, we collected close to 100 hats (official count will be announced tomorrow). They will be presented to Geoffrion at practice Wednesday morning. Thank you for supporting your Nashville Predators players!

THE THREE STARS:
1) David Legwand (NSH)
2) Ryan Suter (NSH)
3) Patric Hornqvist (NSH)

PHOTO CREDIT: Brooke Holland // section303.com