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Dubnyk Holds The Oil In Early, Rewarded With First Shutout

If you look at the NHL play-by-play for last nights game between the Oilers and Predators you’ll see, in this order, start of game, Shawn Horcoff loses faceoff, Devan Dubnyk turns the puck over. That turnover lead to four Nashville shots in the first 22 seconds of the game and a couple of good scoring chances. It wasn’t a great play from the Oilers net minder and probably not how he wanted to start the game. But that’s the bad news, the good news is that it was also the low point of the night for him. When the final whistle blew the Oilers would skate away with a 4-0 win and Dubnyk would have his first career NHL shutout.

Even if he hadn’t been able to blank the Predators, Dubnyk’s play would have been worthy of the games first star. The only reason the Oilers had a chance to win the game was because Dubnyk was ready to go right from puck drop. The Predators, as always, were aggressive on the forecheck and the Oilers were scrambling. When they did manage to actually get control they seemed to unable to get out of their own way. By the 10 minute mark of the first period the Pedators were outshooting the Oilers 13-1 and it was starting to look like a very long night for Edmonton fans.

But despite being drastically outplayed the Oilers would get on the board first with a goal from Andrew Cogliano - a goal that would of course turn out to be the game winner - with just under five minutes to go in the first period. Pekka Rinne’s rebound control on Jordan Eberle’s initial shot left more than a little to be desired but Cogliano deserves some bounces in my opinion so rather than the goal is on Rinne, I’ll say Cogs went to the net hard and got rewarded. The Cogliano goal would be the only goal in the period and the Oilers would head to the dressing with the lead despite being outshot 16-6.

The second period would start out much like the first period did, with more Nashville chances. Marcel Goc would hit the post in the first minute and Ryan Suter would also beat Dubnyk only to be denied by the bar on a power play shortly after. You really started to get the idea that this was Dubnyk’s night when Shea Weber also hit the post on another power play later in the period. Shortly after the Oilers killed off that penalty Jones would give the Oilers a bit of a cushion with his twelfth goal of the year. Jones’ Saturday night press box buddy Colin Fraser would get an assist on the goal as well. The Jones/Fraser duo had a fantastic night on the penalty kill. Maybe the night off helped. Maybe it was Jones playing his old team. I just we see more of that type of game going forward.

In the third period the Oilers would put the game away with goals from Eberle and Dustin Penner a 1:33 apart. Eberle`s goal was originally credited to Jim Vandermeer but the replay clearly showed that Eberle tipped it in. On the Oilers fourth goal Penner took the puck on the left boards and drove to the net around Alexander Sulzer, taking whacks from both Sulzer and Weber as he cut across Rinne for the goal that would mark the end of goalies night. That goal is a perfect example of why I'd hate to trade the big man. Its infrequency is also why many fans would like to see him traded.

From this point on all that was left was to lock up Dubnyk's first shutout. In typical Oiler fashion they made that task as difficult as possible by taking two penalties and letting the Preds record another ten shots on goal. All told Dubnyk would need to record 37 saves for the shutout. I`m sure some "firsts" get exaggerated over time to sound just a little bit better than they were; this game from Dubnyk needs no exaggeration, he was fantastic.