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Offense still an issue as Preds are embarrassed by Oilers…

For as long as fans can remember, the Nashville Predators have been known for not shooting the puck.

There’s a reason for that.

Against the high-flying Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, the Preds mustered a pathetic 11 shots on goal in 60 minutes of action, losing 3-1. After relinquishing a 1-0 lead in the third period, Nashville still only managed to pull the trigger three times in the final frame.

Pekka Rinne did what he could, making 22 saves in the loss. If there was any debate whether or not it was a one-man show out there for Nashville, check out the three stars of the game. In a game the Predators were never in, Rinne was named third star.

“Peks held us in there,” Predators blueliner Kevin Klein told the FS-Tennessee broadcast after the game. “Luckily we have one of the best goaltenders in the league or they would’ve blown us out tonight.”

After a scoreless (and relatively boring) first period, the Predators finally got on the board in the second. Rinne kicked out a rebound to Sergei Kostitsyn standing on the half wall. The second year Pred carried all the way into the Oilers zone and then wristed a shot that trickled through Nikolai Khabibulin to make it 1-0.

The goal extended Kostitsyn’s scoring streak to five games.

In the final frame, Nashville went to the well one too many times and it finally bit them. Ryan Suter gave the Oilers their fifth power play of the night and, just 22 seconds later, they cashed in. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in this past summer’s NHL Draft, gave a cross-ice feed to Taylor Hall, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. Hall tucked it under the bar for the score.

Less than a minute later, thanks to a bad line change by David Legwand and Kostitsyn, veteran forward Ryan Smyth got in behind the Nashville defense and scored the go-ahead goal quite easily. Rinne never had a chance.

The empty netter by former Predator Ryan Jones finished off the scoring.

Nashville will now have 72 hours to sit and think about this ugly performance as they don’t play again until Thursday when they take on the defending Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks. After their last three games, expect the Preds to be massive underdogs in this one. Especially since Ryan Kesler is expected to make his 2011-12 season debut that night.

The puck drops at 9:00pm Central.

* Before the game, the large oil rig prop that the Oilers skate through to start every contest, looked as if it was going to crash down on the ice. For the full story, CLICK HERE.
* The Predators had four shots on goal in the first period. All four came on the powerplay.
* Kostitsyn has registered one point in every game this season.
* This was the first road loss of the season for Nashville.
* Legwand’s four-game scoring streak was snapped.
* Shawn Horcoff assisted on all three Edmonton goals.
* Nashville’s problem, per usual, is offense. Rinne has only allowed two goals in every game this season except for one (he allowed four vs. Phoenix on October 13).

1) Shawn Horcoff (EDM)
2) Taylor Hall (EDM)
3) Pekka Rinne (NSH)

PHOTO CREDIT: Colby Croft // special to (used with permission)