EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Pekka Rinne thought he was in big trouble when he lost his goalie stick during a wild scramble on an Edmonton power play in overtime.
Instead, the wayward stick made the save of the game in the Nashville Predators' 3-2 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
Shawn Horcoff beat Rinne with a diving backhander, but the puck struck the unattended stick at the goal line and deflected away. A video review confirmed the puck didn't fully cross the line.
``That was a huge lucky break,' Rinne said. ``I dropped my stick and I had no clue where it was and luckily it was on the goal-line and that saved the game for us.'
Predators coach Barry Trotz agreed his team was fortunate.
``You've got to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good,' Trotz said. ``That's part of the game. It's like the referee being in the way or what have you. We'll take it.'
Cody Franson scored the lone shootout goal and Rinne made 22 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped all three Edmonton shooters in the tiebreaker. The Predators, fourth in the Western Conference with 60 points, have won three straight - all on the road - and 10 of their last 12.
``I didn't like the way we played,' Trotz said. ``I had a feeling we'd be a little bit sloppy with three games in four nights before we got to this one. We got through the first period but as the game went on we turned way too many pucks over. I don't take anything away from the Oilers but we could have been a little bit firmer in a lot of areas in our game.'
The Oilers, last in the conference, have dropped five in a row and 14 of 16.
``As much as the opponents are really good and most of them are ahead of us in the standings - except one - we tend to beat ourselves,' Oilers coach Tom Renney said.
``It is tough and it tests your patience and your ability to persevere as a coaching staff. But it is even tougher for the players because they are working their guts out.'
Joel Ward gave Nashville a 2-1 lead on a power-play with 5:55 left, but Oilers rookie star Taylor Hall tied it with 3:47 remaining in regulation.
Predators defenseman Alexander Sulzer opened the scoring midway through the first period, and Andrew Cogliano tied it early in the third.
Franson assisted on both Nashville goals.
NOTES: Nashville was 1 for 5 on the power play and Edmonton went 0 for 4. ... The Predators will play the fifth game of their six-game trip Monday night in Calgary. ... The Oilers start a two-game trip Tuesday night in Phoenix. ... It was the first of four meetings between the teams this season. ... Predators forward Marek Svatos missed the game because if a lower-body injury. . . Oilers defenseman Jim Vandermeer returned after missing seven games with an ankle injury. To make room for him on the roster, the Oilers sent Taylor Chorney to Springfield of the AHL. ... Oilers forward Ales Hemsky will miss the All-Star game because of a concussion.
The Associated Press News Service
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