NASHVILLE, TN - The Edmonton Oilers allowed two goals in each of the first, second and third period en route to a 6-0 setback against the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on Friday night.
"It's difficult to say anything positive about what happened tonight," fumed Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger after the game. "When you get a score like this and you're at the tail end of it, there's really no excuses at all in any direction."
Also, for the second straight night the Oilers did not have a power play opportunity.
"We can only dig deep to see why we've gone two games without drawing a power play and why the result happened," Krueger continued. "The way this league is set up now, the way the games are coming at you with the speed they come at you, there's no time to regroup, there's no time to feel sorry for yourself. There's only a necessity to test our mettle, to test our character and look for ways to use this type of disaster here today to move on to the next points."
The head coach pointed out on several occasions that the team did not have an excuse for how tonight's game ended up.
"No excuse," he said. "We're all very disappointed. The coaches all the way through the players. We're going ot have to look at this one really hard."
Ladislav Smid added that it was an unacceptable effort for his team.
"We were outscored, outshot, outchanced," Smid said. "We have to wake up here and realize that we still have enough games to make up that hole we have."
The first real bonafide scoring chance in the game came to Nashville with Craig Smith stationed at the top of the crease. Smith redirected a pass on net and Dubnyk had to be sharp with a lightning-quick leg save to keep the game scoreless.
Nick Schultz took a shot at a Predators skater in the neutral zone and gets a slashing penalty as a result, giving the Preds the game's first man advantage.
While shorthanded, Ryan Jones got in behind the Predators defence and skated in all alone. However, his deke attempt was stopped by Pekka Rinne.
30 seconds later, Nashville opened the scoring. The puck took a weird hop off the end boards after a blast from the high slot by Mike Fisher. Colin Wilson chopped at it and the puck found its way onto the stick of Patric Hornqvist who was able to slip it past Dubnyk on a scrambled play.
Immediately after the goal, the puck dropped and so did the gloves of Mike Brown and Rich Clune. Neither combatant was able to knock the other down after a lengthy fight although Brown looked to have busted Clune open.
Shots on goal with 8:44 remaining in the opening period were 9-1 for the Predators.
Nashville increased its lead to 2-0 after David Legwand's wrist shot from centre ice bounced and eluded Dubnyk, hopping over his glove and into the back of the net.
"It's quite a burden that Devan's had to carry here on this road trip with Khabby leaving us and the intensity of back-to-backs where pretty much everyone will change goalies," said Krueger about the tough goal that made it 2-0. "Putting him back in there again was my call and it was a tough one for Dubey to take that goal. It's out of his character and it was very deflating. We needed something good to happen in the first period."
Shots on goal after one period were 13 to 8 for the Predators.
Yann Danis started the second period in goal for the Oilers but the results were the same. Clune was perched in the crease. Danis stopped the initial shot but Clune hammered in the rebound to make it 3-0 Predators.
A penalty was called for holding on Theo Peckham six minutes into the period. Right at the whistle, Paul Gaustad and Peckham got tangled in front of the net and fell to the ice as tempers erupted on both sides. Each player received two for roughing and the result was Nashville's second power play of the game. The Oilers were able to kill it off easily, however.
By the midway point of the period, the Oilers had narrowed the gap in shots on goal to 17-14, trailing Nashville by three shots.
Bobby Butler got in behind the Oilers defence and broke in all alone on Danis but Ryan Whitney slid in and took Butler's legs out from under him. The result was the Predators' third man advantage of the evening but once again, the Oilers didn't even allow a Nashville shot on goal during the two minutes.
Nashville makes it 4-0 with 1:38 to play in the middle frame. Shea Weber tees up a shot from the right point that's deflected on its way to the net by Zach Boychuk, beating Danis.
Shots after 40 minutes were 21-18 for the Predators.
Nashville increased its lead to 5-0 when Wilson jammed the puck in after driving to the net from the corner. The puck slipped in between the left pad of Danis and the post.
Wilson scored his second of the game late in the third to make it a six-goal night.