Unusual Suspects Lead Preds to Shootout Victory in Edmonton

Franson

Alexander Sulzer has been a healthy scratch in 29 of the Predators 48 games this season.

For only the 19th time this season, Sulzer skated out on the ice in a Predators uniform…and this time, he made the most of it. At 11:53 in the first period of his 41st game as a Predator, the Sergei Kostitsyn fed Sulzer the puck from across the crease, and the 2010 Olympian scored his first career NHL goal to put Nashville up 1-0.

For a long while, Sulzer’s tally appeared to  be the difference maker, as neither team was able to put a shot past the goalie despite excellent chances on both ends.  However, Andrew Cogliano finally managed to break through for Edmonton at the beginning of the third period, beating Pekka Rinne on a feed from Liam Reddox on a 2-on-1.

Again, the game locked into a stalemate for the next 10 minutes until Joel Ward redirected a Sulzer shot into the net to beat Devan Dubnyk on the power play and give the Predators a 2-1 advantage at 14:05.

The lead was shortlived, though, as Taylor Hall scored on a rush to the net at 16:13.

A late penalty to Edmonton’s Theo Peckham put the Preds on the power play at the end of regulation, but they were unable to convert and carried the advantage into overtime where – again – they were unable to convert.

The Predators managed to survive an Edmonton power play in overtime and force the game into a shootout.

Edmonton’s first shooter was Linus Omark, who you may remember from this shootout attempt. Omark attempted to get fancy on Rinne, coming almost to a complete stop before Pekka directed the shot wide.

After Marcel Goc missed for Nashville and Sam Gagner missed for Edmonton, Barry Trotz plugged in defenseman Cody Franson, who had the second assist on both Nashville goals. Franson, who had a brilliant breakway goal earlier this year (note a common theme?), had made a shootout attempt before. After he buried the puck top shelf, it seems safe to say that it wouldn’t be his last.

Finally, almost as a formality, Taylor Hall came out to make his attempt – kick save by Rinne – and the Predators come away from Edmonton with 2 points due to the heroics of two defenseman in fairly unlikely places.

The final score was 3-2.

Other Notes:

  • This marked Alexander Sulzer’s first career multiple point game, as he had the first assist on Joel Ward’s goal.
  • Cody Franson has 4 points in the last two games.
  • A scary moment occurred in the 3rd period when JP Dumont was inadvertently whacked across the neck by Tom Gilbert’s stick. JP laid on the ice for several seconds before skating off under his own power with an obvious red mark.
  • Despite scoring 4 points in the last 2 games and having the game-winning shootout goal, Franson only registered 13:17 of ice time, the fewest among defensemen.

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Nicholson