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Oilers Tame Predators In 4-2 Victory

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Mike Smith notches his 4th consecutive win as the Oilers secure a critical win over Nashville

I love it when we win!

The Edmonton Oilers were able to knock-off the Nashville Predators by a score of 4-2 on Tuesday night. A strong performance by Mike Smith and timely goals by Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Josh Archibald powered the Oilers to their 25th win of the season.

The win propels the Oilers to 2nd in the Pacific with 55pts and trail only the Arizona Coyotes for the division lead. Not to be forgotten, the Calgary Flames are tied with Edmonton in points while the Vancouver Canucks sit only a point behind in the standings.

Times are tight in the Pacific Division but let’s try to focus on the game! How did Edmonton pull this one out? I got the rundown right here:

1st Period:

The first 10 minutes of this game were one to forget...for both sides. It was sloppy hockey that resulted in no excitement. Both teams looked as though they were ready for All-Star break later this month. Luckily, this wouldn’t last long and both teams would eventually ramp it up as the game went on.

The first bit of excitement came off the stick of the Nuge after he released a wicked wrist-shot from the top of the circle that whizzed by Pekka Rinne’s shoulder and into the net. If you blinked, you would’ve missed it. 1-0 Oilers.

The lead would be short-lived, however, as Filip Forsberg would score an absolutely beautiful lacrosse-style goal a mere 2 minutes later. We’ve seen these type of goals a lot lately, but this was the first one against the Oilers. We were squared back up at 1-1.

Things would start to tilt toward Edmonton’s side of the rink after this. Darnell Nurse would head to the box shortly after and give the Predators the momentum. Although the Oilers would kill the penalty the Preds wouldn’t let up. Nick Bonino was able to find Colin Blackwill in front of Mike Smith and tip in the go-ahead goal. 2-1 Nashville.

Edmonton wouldn’t be out of it quite yet. A power-play late in the period gave them the chance to get back on even terms. After Nugent-Hopkins was stonewalled on a point blank chance, the puck would eventually find its way to the front of the net. Rinne would stop Chiasson a handful of times as chaos ensued, but Leon Draisaitl eventually got the puck to hit twine. At the end of the first we had a 2-2 game.

2nd Period:

The middle frame was much more entertaining period of hockey, even though less goals were scored. The intensity level was ramped up on both sides and each team was pushing hard to get the next lead. Rocco Grimaldi had the first great chance for the Predators, unleashing a insane slap-shot that Smith was able to save but not without losing both his mask and stick in the process.

Connor McDavid would lead the way for the Oilers from here. The captain would have an excellent chance after blowing by Nashville’s defence and nearly beating Rinne on the wraparound...but no dice. He would also headman a great shift alongside Sam Gagner and Kailer Yamamoto soon afterwards. He would eventually cash-in as fed Josh Archibald on a 2-on-1 rush who would easily pot the go-ahead goal. 3-2 Oilers.

Nashville would have a few great chances as the period progressed, including 2 between-the-leg shots by Filip Forsberg, but they wouldn’t be able to solve Smith. At the end of 40 the Oilers held the lead.

3rd Period:

Coming into this game the Oilers had won 16 games when leading after the first 40 minutes...and it seemed that they motivated to make it 17. Within the first 2 minutes of the period Leon Draisaitl had a clear cut breakaway miss the net and Sam Gagner had an excellent chance in front sail wide as well. It was all Oilers early on, but they failed to capitalize on these chances.

Nashville would get another chance of the power-play midway through the period where they pushed hard to tie this one. Filip Forsberg had a fantastic shot on the man-advantage but a nice kick-save by Smith was all it took for the Oilers to kill it off. Edmonton would go to the power-play shortly after but failed to generate much pressure.

Nashville would attempt to pull the goalie late in the game but, after a quick turnover forced Rinne to rush back to the net, the Predators were caught with too many men on the ice. Nashville would try to pull the goalie to even things up, but Leon Draisaitl would find the empty cage to seal the victory!

The Oilers groove into a playoff spot with a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators!

Takeways:

  • Mike Smith was great tonight! He was riding a 3-game winning streak heading into this one and he kept Edmonton in the game when Nashville was pushing. When you’re hot you’re hot and I gotta give Smith the benefit of the doubt here.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to stay hot as well. He got Edmonton’s first goal of the night after a lightning quick wrist shot off the face-off. It looks like he is clicking well with Draisaitl and you gotta love it when the Nuge is scoring.
  • Zack Kassian’s spot on the top-line was filled by Josh Archibald tonight and it proved to be a good move. Archibald had a strong game playing alongside McDavid and was even able to get a goal. Goes to show that anyone can play with #97.
  • The penalty-kill came up HUGE once again tonight! The Preds had a chance midway through the third that could’ve tied things up, but the penalty killing group did an exceptional job at limiting Nashville’s chances.
  • Leon Draisaitl had a helluva game as well! He was involved in all 3 areas of the ice and picked up 3pts along the way! The big guns are shooting for the Oilers!
  • Connor McDavid had a fantastic chance late in the third period that was stopped by Rinne....it would’ve been the goal of the year had it gone in...WOW.
  • The Oilers slide into 2nd in the Pacific with tonight’s win and it’s feeling good! They’ll try to keep the good times rolling the, Pacific Division leading, Arizona Coyotes come to town on Saturday!