Ales Hemsky scored his first career hat trick and added an assist as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night.
Darcy Hordichuk, with his first as an Oiler, Ryan Jones and Sam Gagner also tallied while Devan Dubnyk stopped 41 of 44 shots for the win.
The best scoring chance early on came off the stick of Craig Smith as he had the puck in a dangerous area of the high slot. Dubnyk had to be sharp in coming out to stop Smith's quick wrister.
With 7:10 to play in the opening period, Darcy Hordichuk picked up the puck in the corner of the Predators end and tried to center it. The puck ended up going off the pads of Nashville starting goaltender Pekka Rinne and in.
For Hordichuk, the goal was his first of the season and first as an Oiler.
Shots on goal 15 minutes into the period were 7 to 3 for the Predators.
The Oilers made it a 2-0 game with 3:38 to go. Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner skated in on a two-on-one. Hemsky carried the puck into the slot before firing it into the net.
Gagner ran into Rinne but the goal was allowed because he was pushed in. Ironically, Hemsky had a goal disallowed just a couple weeks ago in Denver because Gagner had interfered with the goaltender. The referee in that game was the same one as tonight: Paul Devorski.
Nashville made it a 2-1 game with 6.8 seconds to play in the period. During a broken play, David Legwand got his stick on a loose puck just outside the crease and put it in past Dubnyk.
The Predators had a 9-5 edge in the shot clock after 20 minutes.
It took the Oilers only 28 seconds to regain the two-goal lead. Sam Gagner took a shot from far out that was booted out by Rinne. Hartikainen got a piece of the rebound before Hemsky put it away for his second of the game, making it 3-1 Oilers.
After the goal, the Predators replaced Rinne in goal with Anders Lindback.
With 15:51 to play in the middle frame, Shea Weber clipped Ryan Jones with a high stick in front of the Preds net, giving Edmonton its first power play of the game.
Shorthanded, Nashville had a great scoring chance with Legwand and Erat skating in on a two-on-one. Francis Boullon trailed on the play and scooped up the puck before putting it on net. Dubnyk had to be sharp to make the save and smother the rebound.
On the same power play, the Oilers skated right back and scored to take a 4-1 lead. Ryan Whitney took the initial shot and Jones was in front to put home the rebound for the three-goal advantage.
The Predators looked to narrow the gap to 4-2 on a goal by Shea Weber but it was called off after it was determined that Patric Hornqvist interfered with Dubnyk in the Oilers crease.
Nashville went on the power play for the first time in the game with 9:32 to play in the middle frame. Ben Eager took a roughing penalty after a skirmish erupted in the corner of the Edmonton zone.
26 seconds later, Ladislav Smid clipped Erat with a high stick to put the Predators on a five-on-three advantage.
The Oilers were able to kill off the first one, but with 19 seconds left in Smid's minor, Hornqvist completed a nice three-way passing play by banging home a rebound and making it 4-2. Fisher and Erat had the assists.
At the 14:03 mark, Ales Hemsky broke in alone and wristed a shot glove side past Lindback for his third of the night.
Shots after two periods were 25 to 14 for Nashville but the Oilers were up 5-2 on the scoreboard.
32 seconds into the third, Teemu Hartikainen took a penalty for interference to put Nashville on the power play with a chance to get back in the game.
The Oilers were able to kill off the penalty but with 15:42 remaining in the period, David Legwand netted his second of the game to draw the Predators within two. Legwand was behind the net and backhanded the puck in front. In what was a carbon copy of Hordichuk's first-period marker, the puck bounced in off the back of Dubnyk's pads and in.
Sam Gagner added an empty netter to make the final 6-3.