Oilers take down Predators

Predators forward Gabriel Bourque falls over Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid at Bridgestone Arena...

Predators forward Gabriel Bourque falls over Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., March 20, 2012. (M. J. MASOTTI JR./Reuters)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

NASHVILLE - The Edmonton Oilers had trouble explaining their dominance over the Nashville Predators heading into Tuesday's game in the Music City.

But whatever the reason, the good vibrations continued for the Oilers as they skated to a 6-3 victory in front of a building full of ticked off fans.

Ales Hemsky led the way for the Oilers, recording the first hat trick of has career, while Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Jones and Sam Gagner added the others. Devan Dubnyk turned aside 41 shots to record the victory in goal.

David Legwand, with a pair, and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Predators.

"I don't know what it is, it's a great city, probably," said Hemsky. "We played a good game and Dubey played great, he kept us in the game. In the third period, they had lots of chances, but he kept us in the game.

"I think it was a solid game and we just want to build from that and finish the season out strong."

Going into the contest, the Oilers had won two of the three previous encounters against the Predators this season, and four of seven dating back to last year.

Tuesday they got on the board first as Hordichuk banked a centering pass off Predators defenceman Kevin Klein in front and past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

The goal was Hordichuk's first of the season, first as an Oiler and first in 91 games, dating back to Nov. 6, 2010.

Hemsky extended the lead later in the period, cutting to the middle on a two-on-two rush and firing a shot past Rinne, who had been taken out by Gagner on the play.

The goal stood as it was ruled by referee Paul Devorski that Gagner was shoved into the Predators goaltender by winger Martin Erat.

The ruling did not sit well with the Predators, but it paled in comparison to a decision that would go against them later in the contest.

"When the puck went in and they called it a goal, I didn't really know what to expect," said Gagner. "I guess it could have gone either way. It's one of those plays that could have gone either way and it's a good for us that it went the way it did."

Legwand cut into the Oilers lead seven seconds before the end of the first period, but Hemsky responded early in the second with a goal that chased Rinne from the net.

Jones added a fourth on the power play, banging a rebound from in tight past Andres Lindback.

Later in the frame, the Predators though they had cut into the Oilers lead, but the goal was waved off by Devorski, who ruled Hornqvist impeded Dubnyk as a shot from the point was going in the net.

The veteran official explained his decision to the crowd by saying Hornqvist was in the crease, which replays (continually shown on the scoreboard) revealed he wasn't.

"I was on the ice for that one, too, I was right there," Gagner said. "It's another one of those that's a judgment call, it's right in front of the net and it could have gone either way. The puck is there, but he does hit Dubey, so it's really a judgment call."

Hornqvist did go on to score later in the frame, just as the first of two penalties to the Oilers came to an end. Hemsky then added his third, casually flipping the puck over Lindback on a breakaway.

"I was a little nervous when I was going in there," Hemsky said. "I kind of panicked a little bit. But I got lucky on the third one. Finally I was able to get some luck. Tonight was the game everything was going in for me, so I was happy about it."

In the third, Legwand collected his second, banking a shot in off Dubnyk from behind the net following a scramble in front.

That was as close as the Predators would come, however, as Dubnyk turned aside 18 shots in the period.

Gagner sealed the contest with an empty-net goal, giving the Oilers five victories over the Predators in the last two years.

"This thing seems to have a life of its own," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. "They're a very good team and you could tell by the third period and the way they pumped shots on goal. We had to have good goaltending, prior to what we needed before that, and got it."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


Videos

Photos