NHL Game Summary - Nashville at Edmonton
(Friday, March 19th)
Final Score: Edmonton 5, Nashville 4
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Igor Ulanov scored with 1:31 left in the third period to lift Edmonton to a 5-4 victory over Nashville in a see-saw battle between two teams vying for a playoff spot at Rexall Place.
Ethan Moreau scored twice for the Oilers, who have won three straight to get within two points of Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Fernando Pisani and Radek Dvorak also lit the lamp for Edmonton, while Ty Conklin turned aside 23 shots for the win.
The Predators, mired in a seven-game winless slide (0-3-3-1), received a pair of tallies from Scott Walker as well as goals from Kimmo Timonen and Greg Johnson. Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves in a losing effort.
Ulanov's marker capped a wild back-and-forth third period in which six goals were scored. Skating through the left circle, he was able to follow up a blast by Jarret Stoll to bury the rebound behind Vokoun for the game-winner, just the third goal this season for Ulanov.
"[Stoll] got the big shot off from the point, and I stepped in and it came to me and all I did was shoot," said Ulanov. "I didn't know it went in until they [his teammates] all jumped."
The goal came exactly six minutes after Walker's second of the night tied the game at 4-4. Walker fired a wrist shot from the left circle to beat the glove of Conklin, leaving the score tied with 7:31 to play in regulation.
Trailing 2-1 after two periods, Edmonton knotted it back up at 2-2 on Pisani's 11th goal 6:20 into the third frame. Marc-Andre Bergeron came streaking down the left side to draw Vokoun's attention, before sending a cross-ice pass to Pisani, who had a wide open net to look at.
Nashville didn't take long to regain the lead as Johnson trailed a 2-on-1 rush to bang home a one-timer in the slot for a 3-2 edge just 20 ticks later.
Moreau's second of the night evened the score once again for the Oilers as his 20th goal of the season tied it at 3-3 just prior to the midway point of the final stanza.
Edmonton went ahead 1:39 later on the strength of Dvorak's 14th of the campaign. Dvorak sped down the left side but ran out of room, leaving him no alternative but to spin around to his forehand and throw the puck toward the slot. He then reaped the benefits of a lucky bounce as the puck went off Timonen's skate and through the five-hole of a surprised Vokoun for a 4-3 Oilers advantage.
"It was weird to see the exchange of goals in the third period. But we got the big two [points] in the end," Ulanov added.
In all, Vokoun allowed four goals on 17 shots in the last 20 minutes for the disappointing outcome after stopping 18-of-19 shots in the first two periods.
"Giving up five goals isn't something to be happy about," Vokoun said. "I made some good stops but some slid by. I wasn't fighting the puck, I felt pretty good. We should have played much tighter."
After a scoreless first period in which Edmonton held a 9-2 shot advantage, the Oilers found themselves down a man after a Cory Cross interference penalty.
Nashville tried to set up the power play but defenseman Dan Hamhuis failed on a diving attempt to receive an errant point pass and Moreau skated free with Stoll on a 2-on-0 break. Moreau's first shot was stopped by the stacked pads of Vokoun, but he was there for an easy tap-in on the rebound.
The Predators struck back two minutes later to tie it on Timonen's 12th, a wrist shot from the right point through traffic that Conklin never saw.
Conklin yielded a soft goal just over three minutes later, resulting in Walker's 22nd of the season. Walker skated down the right wing before letting a bad-angle wrister go. Conklin stuck out his right pad, but the puck glanced off it and behind him to put the Predators ahead 2-1.
"It was a wild one, no question," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "The game wasn't for the faint of heart on the bench tonight. It was sort of a throw back to the early 80's. Conklin let a couple of easy ones in, but he came back with some big saves late in the game. It was sort of a case that the last goal wins, and luckily we got it."
The Oilers improved to 3-24-6-1 when trailing after two periods...Edmonton is 8-0-1-2 in its last 11 home games...The Oilers have earned a point in 14 of the last 15 games (8-1-3-3)...Nashville's last win was a 9-4 rout of Pittsburgh on March 4.
03/20 02:00:32 ET