Predators defeat Edmonton with unlikely offense from defense pair

Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 10:56pm
Staff reports

Defenseman Alexander Suzler scored his first career goal, and Cody Franson, also a defenseman, converted on his first career shootout attempt and lifted the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday in Edmonton.

Nashville became the fourth Western Conference team with 60 points as it won for the third consecutive game, the 10th time in its last 12 contests and the sixth time in eight shootouts this season. Franson, second up for the Predators, was the only skater for either side who converted in the tiebreaker.

With two games remaining before the All-Star break (the next is 8:30 p.m. Monday at Calgary), Nashville is 27-15-6 and alone in fourth place in the conference standings and is guaranteed its second-highest victory total ever at the break.

The Predators were 34-12-3 prior to the All-Star game in 2006-07.

Joel Ward gave Nashville a short-lived 2-1 lead when he scored at 14:05 of the third period and with five seconds remaining on a power play. It was Ward’s third power play goal of the season, which matched his career-high.

Edmonton (14-25-8), which has the worst record in the West by a wide margin, tied it 2:08 later on rookie Taylor Hall’s goal. That ultimately extended things beyond regulation.

The majority of the overtime was played with one of the teams a man short.

The Predators had a power play for the first 1:14 after Patric Hornqvist drew a hooking call with 46 seconds to play in regulation. The Oilers got to skate 4-on-3 when Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter was called for tripping with 3:39 to play in the five-minute extra session.

Sulzer’s goal gave the Predators a 1-0 lead that stood for more than a period and a half. The 26-year-old defenseman was playing in his 41st career game and 19th of the season. He was in the lineup once again for Francis Bouillon, who missed his third straight game with an injury.

Sulzer finished off a rush at 11:53 of an otherwise defensive-minded first period, during which the teams combined for 10 shots  (five each).

The Predators cranked up the attack in the third period with 14 shots, which was two more than they had in the first two periods combined.

For the game, they outshot the Oilers 28-24.