NASHVILLE, TN - The Edmonton Oilers fell behind 3-0 in the first period and despite a valiant comeback effort were unable to close that gap, losing a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators to wrap up their five-game road trip on Tuesday night.
"When you don't get the points you leave upset. It's always winning or misery. It was a tough 20 for us," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins, noting that he was encouraged by the team's first two shifts but after that the Predators got on the board and things went sideways.
James Neal's shot from the right circle was stopped by Fasth but Mike Ribeiro was on the doorstep to backhand the puck in while it was laying in the crease.
"We were playing slow. Couldn't get the puck out of our zone. Our D couldn't get back quick enough, our centre was low and slow," he said.
Just prior to the midway point of the first, Nashville extended its lead to 2-0. A blast from the point by Seth Jones missed the net but the puck bounced back in front where Matt Cullen dove to backhand it past an outstretched Fasth.
In the final minute, Mike Ribeiro chipped the puck from behind the net up to Filip Forsberg at the side of the net. Forsberg swatted it past Fasth for the goal and 3-0 Nashville lead.
David Perron spoke after the game about how he felt the team wasn't ready to start the game.
“I was a little scared about the way we would come out after those two wins. We played some good hockey but like I said (on Monday), the Rangers were playing back-to-back after an emotional game against Toronto," Perron stated.
“I felt like we weren’t ready. We can’t have that happen whenever we win one or two games. We can’t just get ahead of ourselves but that’s what we did a little bit. It was the same with our last winning streak.”
Jesse Joensuu echoed the thoughts of his teammate.
"I felt like that was the worst period we played this season. The way we bounced back is obviously good, but that does not give you the points. At least we gave ourselves a chance to win the game."
Shots after one period were 17-6 for the Predators.
Ben Scrivens replaced Viktor Fasth in goal to start in the second period and the Oilers came out of the intermission with a lot more jump than they had in the first. 31 seconds in, Benoit Pouliot ripped a shot from the left circle past Pekka Rinne to make it a two-goal game once again. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle got the assists.
"We got our feet underneath us. We had a good meeting (in the intermission). I thought we were better in the remaining two periods but it was too big a hole," Eakins continued. "Our next step is finding a way to play 60 minutes every night. That's how the playoff teams play."
50 seconds after the goal, Nikita Nikitin received two minutes for tripping, putting Nashville on the power play. It was the first man advantage for either side in the game.
Preds were unable to score on the man advantage but continued to carry the offensive play. Shots were 24-7 for Nashville.
Oilers started to gain some offensive zone time as the period progressed, establishing a good cycle in the Predators end and it paid off.
With 5:18 to go in the period, David Perron dished the puck to Nail Yakupov at the right side of the net. Yakupov had a wide-open cage and made no mistake, quickling rifling it by Rinne to make it a one-goal game.
NOTES: Yakupov cut his wrist at the end of the game but Coach Eakins wasn't concerned, noting the winger only had a couple of stitches.