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Oilers hold off Predators in Nashville opener

10/13/2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Ethan Moreau saw Ales Hemsky coming out of the penalty box, and their timing was perfect.

Moreau passed the puck to Hemsky just as he finished killing a penalty. Hemsky found Mike Comrie, who scored midway through the third period as the Edmonton Oilers beat Nashville 3-2 in the Predators' home opener Saturday night.

Comrie credited Moreau for pulling a Nashville defenseman to him and Hemsky for seeing him as he broke toward the net. He finished off the play with a wrist shot through goaltender Mike Dunham's legs from the left circle with 9:08 remaining.

``When you're 1-on-1 against the goalie with 10 minutes left in the third period, that's the play that you've got to score,'' said Comrie, referring to his first goal this season.

Edmonton, which plays 10 of its first 16 games on the road,
started a three-game road trip by skating to a 2-0 lead in the
first period. Edmonton outshot Nashville 15-7 in that period, but
the Predators had a 24-12 edge the rest of the game.

``We knew they were going to come back hard,'' said Moreau, who finished with two assists. ``That is one thing we've learned about Nashville. Even if you have a little bit of a cushion, they are going to keep coming hard and they are going to create a lot of offense.''

Goalie Tommy Salo had 29 saves and preserved the victory for the Oilers. He was at his best in the opening minutes of the third. He gloved a shot by Martin Erat at the left post, stopped Scott Hartnell twice, then made a save off a shot by Andy Delmore.

Salo also held off a flurry in the final minute, including a
save on a shot by Scott Walker from in front.

Edmonton took its first-period lead in part because of five
power plays, and Ryan Smyth scored his first goal on a 5-on-3. He
knocked in a rebound of Anson Carter's shot from just in front of
the crease at 12:41.

Eric Brewer made it 2-0 at 16:53 with his first goal from the left circle on a one-timer off Todd Marchant's pass as he skated behind the goal.

The Predators have allowed three goals on 5-on-3s in their first
four periods.

``We've played long enough, and we're all big boys,'' right wing
Scott Walker said. ``We know the rules. We know what they're
calling and what they're not. We have to get it through our heads
to take the penalty and go to the box. They're never ever going to
change a call.''

Nashville played a penalty-free second period and tied the score with two goals.

David Legwand scored his second of the season when he grabbed
the puck out of the air at the right side of the goal, dropped it
and then slapped it back toward the goal. The puck bounced off Salo
and into the goal at 3:36.

The Predators stayed on the offensive, and defenseman Cale Hulse got the 12th goal of his career when he scored through Salo's legs from near the blue line off a faceoff at 15:49.

Game notes
Nashville plays 10 of the next 13 on the road. ... Hulse
entered this season ranked 13th among active players in consecutive
games played without a goal. He went 97 games without a goal before
scoring in the second period. ... Hulse also needed only one
penalty minute to reach 700 for his career, and he picked that up
in the first period for roughing. ... Edmonton ended a three-game
winless streak against Nashville. ... Dennis Arkhipov assisted on
Hulse's goal and has three assists in two games.