The Oilers choreographed a three-goal third period, including tallies from Taylor Hall
, Ryan Smyth
and Ryan Jones
to counter the Preds' attack and win 3-1 Monday night at Rexall Place.
got the start in goal, notching 11 saves in the win.
The Oilers opened up a 3-0 shot advantage three minutes in and were rewarded with a power-play opportunity when Nashville's Shea Weber was assessed a boarding minor at 3:30. The team's second unit led by Ryan Smyth
, Linus Omark
and Jordan Eberle
buzzed, but were unable to generate an on-net scoring chance.
took a roughing minor at 5:55, giving the Predators a chance to score the ice-breaker but, despite a pair of shots on starter Nikolai Khabibulin
, the game remained scoreless.
Chances may have been scarce, but penalties were not early on. With 8:01 on the clock, Predators centre Nick Spaling was called for hooking, sending the Oilers to their second man-advantage. Taylor Hall
took a hooking minor of his own 27 seconds in, putting the team's in a 4-on-4 situation at 12:26.
The Oilers almost went up 1-0 when Jeff Petry
's point shot was tipped on goal; sitting in the crease, Shawn Horcoff
and Ryan Smyth
made a pitch, but the Nashville's D came up big, steering the puck aside and keeping the game knotted at zero with under six minutes to play.
Not to be outdone, the line of Eric Belanger
, Magnus Paajarvi
and Linus Omark
had a strong minute-long sequence in the Predators' zone, helping to extend the Oilers' shot lead to a 12-4 edge, but the 0-0 score held until the intermission.
A quality scoring chance at one end turned into a goal at the other. With Tom Gilbert
deep in the Preds end, the visitors broke up-ice with speed and a 3-on-1 opportunity. Sergei Kostitsyn elected to keep, snapping a wrister through Khabibulin at 1:58 to put the Oilers down 1-0.
Up 15-6 in shots, the home side was given a chance to respond; Nashville's Jonathan Blum was assessed a holding minor at 3:34. A pair of blocked shots quelled the Oilers' quest, and the game remained in the Predators' favour.
Just a quickly, Nashville went up a man when a lazy Oilers change sparked a bench minor for too many men. Like the Oilers, another attempt on Khabibulin couldn't be recorded during the two-minute advantage, keeping the 1-0 score intact.
With 10:52 on the clock, a high-sticking call to Omark kept the penalty box doors swinging and smooth-sailing even-strength time to a minimum. Another shot was tallied, but nothing resembling a scoring chance was added.
The Oilers' 0-for-3 PP was put back on the ice with 46.2 seconds on the clock when Ryan Suter whacked Ryan Jones
across the forearm, earning him a minor for slashing. The home side was unable to counter late in the period, but would have 1:13 remaining on the advantage heading into the third.
With 40 minutes in the books, the Oilers continued to trail 1-0 but where ahead 19-9 in shots.
The Oilers came out strong with a decided territorial advantage and were eventually awarded with another power-play opportunity once Suter's late-period infraction expired. This time around, the Oilers came up with a goal. Nugent-Hopkins made a spectacular, cross-box seeing-eye pass to Hall at the near circle; No. 4 corralled the puck and delivered it under the bar behind the diving Nashville netminder.
Wasting no time, the Oilers went up 2-1, 2:01 later. The Oilers' captain made an equally as thrilling 60-foot pass to a streaking, wide-open Ryan Smyth
down the wing. The veteran bleeder of orange and blue collected the puck, danced around Rinne and tucked the puck into the gaping cage to make it a 2-1 game at 7:31.
As the period's midway point passed, the Oilers extended to a 22-10 shot advantage while maintaining a 2-1 edge on the scoreboard.
With 6:13 remaining, veteran rearguard Andy Sutton
was assessed a tripping minor, putting the Oilers on the PK for the fifth time. Much like Nashville's earlier opportunities, the Predators came up empty in search of the equalizer.
Nashville pulled Rinne in the game's final minute, but the visitors' comeback attempt stalled when the Ryan Jones
tallied into the empty net to secure a 3-1 win for the home team.