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Oilers Break Skid With 3-2 Win Over Predators

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Leon Draisaitl came up BIG with 2 third period goals en route to a key victory

1st period: Boring. 2nd period; Boring. 3rd period: WOW.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Hockey Day in Canada. The Oilers were able to erase a 2-0 deficit on the strength of 2 third period goals from Leon Draisaitl and some clutch goaltending. The win moves the Oilers into 2nd place in the Pacific Division, one point behind the division leading Vancouver Canucks.

It was game that was boring at times, but the ending would make up for it! Didn’t watch it? Well I got the recap right here for your reading pleasure:

1st Period:

The Oilers kicked off their Hockey Day in Canada matchup with some mixed results. The Nashville Predators had an early chance as a broken stick by Darnell Nurse led to a scramble in front of Mike Smith. The Oilers would get a chance of their own quickly after as Kailer Yamamoto let loose a one-timer that was stopped by Saros.

It would be the the Nashville Predators who would strike first in this one. A point-shot would be blocked in front of Mike Smith, a scrum would ensue and Nashville’s Craig Smith would find the puck and backhand it into the Edmonton net. 1-0 Nashville a little over 12 minutes into this one. There was some controversy with this one as the play before the goal appeared to be icing against the Predators but was waved off by the linesmen.

McDavid would have a few chances at tying this one but nothing would go. Shots were even at 7 apiece and the Predators held the lead after 20 minutes of play.

2nd Period:

The second period was, to put it briefly, a snooze fest. Each team had a few chances but, for the most part, it was a period full of gritty board play.

Darnell Nurse was pegged with a holding call early on in the period, giving Nashville a chance to extend their lead. They would get close as Mikhail Granlund would get a chance right in front of Mike Smith but would be denied by the blocker. The Preds also hit a crossbar on the man-advantage en route to Edmonton killing it off.

Oiler fans had to hold their breath near the mid-way mark as Connor McDavid went down awkwardly in the Nashville corner, going in knee-first. Edmonton’s medical staff would have a lengthy conversation with McDavid but he’d stay in the game. A huge bullet dodged there.

Things would get worse for the Oilers as the period progressed. A point shot by Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis was tipped en route to the net by Nick Bonino as it beat Smith. The disinterested Oilers found themselves down 2-0 late in the second.

It wouldn’t be all bad for the home team as they were able to draw hooking penalty in the final minutes of the period. Connor McDavid would unleash a shot from the top of the right circle that would be blocked by Chiasson in front and trickle off the stick of Kyle Turris and into the net. A fluky goal to say the least, but a goal nonetheless.

Nashville would hold onto a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame.

3rd Period:

This one would make up for a rather boring second period. The Oilers came out on a mission and had a few really good shifts in there offensive zone early on. The pressure would pay off as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would feed a streaking Leon Draisaitl who would rip a bullet past Saros to tie the game up at 2-2.

The Oilers would then get another chance on the power-play after Jared Tinordi interfered with Leon Draisaitl. Wouldn’t ya know it, Nugent-Hopkins fed Leon Draisaitl who fired a one-timer past Saros for his second of the period to give Edmonton their first lead of the game.

The Predators would mount a last-minute push to try to tie things up but Mike Smith would stand his ground and hold on to the win. The Oilers break a 2-game losing streak to take this one by a score of 3-2!

Takeaways:

  • Mike Smith picks up a win in his 600th career game in what was really a mixed bagged performance. On one hand he should have had both goals that got by him, but on the other hand he was spectacular when the Oilers needed him. He picks up his 7th win of 2020!
  • The Oilers won this game because of two players in particular: Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They connected twice in the third period on what were some beautiful looking goals. The second-line chemistry remains very strong and that's a fantastic sign.
  • Connor McDavid took a spill in the second period on what looked like an innocent play. McDavid would get looked at by the medical staff but would remain in the game. Sportsnet’s Drew Remenda felt the need to bring up the play every 2 minutes for some reason...but I don’t believe McDavid suffered anything other than a temporary sore knee.
  • Tyler Benson had a whopping 5:19 of ice time beside Zack Kassian (7:05) and Gaeten Haas (4:29). I don’t consider myself an NHL coaching expert but that doesn’t seem like a great way to welcome a player like Benson to the league. Let skill play with skill and pair him up with McDavid.
  • Reffing wasn’t very good tonight, but there might be a reason for it. Justin St. Pierre was ranked as the league’s worst NHL referee in the 2020 player poll done by the Athletic. He showed why tonight.
  • I really like Ethan Bear tonight...had a few great looks at the net but failed to find the twine. He’s going to be a gamer once he figures out how to score on his chances.
  • The Edmonton Oilers broke a 2-game losing streak and slide into 2nd place in the Pacifc Division unopposed! They’re back in action this Tuesday as they host the Chicago Blackhawks! Lets Go Oilers!