The Edmonton Oilers (16-13-0) were in Nashville to take on the Predators (12-11-3) in the second half of a road back to back after maybe their worst performance of the season less than 24 hours ago. Jack Campbell (7-6-0, 0.872) made his return to the Oilers crease, opposite Kevin Lankinen (3-3-0, 0.934), who has quietly put together a nice start to his season.
Nashville took the lead just over a minute in after Cody Glass’ hopeful effort — and the Predators’ first shot of the game — somehow escaped Campbell.
not a great start for jack campbell and the oilers, who allow a goal on the first shot of the game. 1-0 preds. pic.twitter.com/RLtjMYM2Ub— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
Credit to the Oilers, they responded well to going down early and pushed the pace for a couple of shifts. It took some time before they were rewarded, but eventually found some positive reinforcement for their efforts. Evan Bouchard — who has been getting the Jesse Puljujarvi treatment over the last couple of days in the MSM — spotted Zach Hyman at the near post with a wonderful shot-pass that Hyman simply had to caress beyond Lankinen to tie the game.
a beautiful shot-pass from evan bouchard gets tips home by zach hyman. 1-1. pic.twitter.com/mYL2Pw81G3— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
Edmonton continued to press their foot down on the gas for the next few minutes and took their first lead with just over 5 minutes remaining in the first period. Once again, through Zach Hyman, who was both in perfect position to pick up the rebound and tenacious enough to stuff it home.
zach hyman is regressing to the mean right before our eyes. his second of the night gives the oilers a 2-1 lead over the mustard cats. pic.twitter.com/pYKCKV2BhZ— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
On the next shift, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took the game’s first penalty, even though he didn’t actually do anything. Fortunately for Edmonton and their bottom-five PK, the Predators’ PP is about as bad. They couldn’t find the equalizer, and about a minute later took a silly penalty through Tanner Jeannot that put the Oilers’ extremely good PP on the ice with about a minute left in the period.
the mayor of nashville makes it 3-1 in the first. pic.twitter.com/Fyu0TDZMP1— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
Textbook stuff. Don’t take penalties against the Edmonton Oilers if you know what’s good for you.
3-1 Edmonton after 20 minutes. SOGs 14-8 in favor of the Oilers.
Edmonton started the second period with some verve as well, but it was Nashville who scored next via Ryan Johansen, who was left all alone in front.
ryan johansen makes it a one goal game. pic.twitter.com/Iln8srQVti— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
Less than a minute later, Draisaitl restored Edmonton’s two goal lead:
at this rate, leon draisaitl will be the governor of tennessee by the end of this game. his second of the night gives the oilers a 4-2 lead. pic.twitter.com/bP8QRhVQpb— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
Sniper, go sniping. Not a bad way to mark your TWENTIETH goal against Nashville in the last 10 games. Absurd.
The game settled down for a few minutes before Dylan Holloway was given the gate for something. Nashville’s absolutely dogshit power play couldn’t manufacture a goal, but they did generate a few half decent looks and seemed to carry some momentum forward into the next few shifts.
They hit a post on a point-blank shot into a wide open net, and then got a similarly good look they did capitalize on what felt like seconds later:
Darnell Nurse took the game’s next penalty as he tried to land a Stone Cold Stunner on Nashville’s Cole Smith. Just over a minute into the penalty, Derek Ryan took another one, leaving the Oilers much-maligned penalty kill with a lot to do to keep their 1-goal lead intact. Fortunately, they were able to.
Johansen went close on a nice cross-crease pass but Campbell did just enough to fight it off, though upon further review it appeared that Johansen kind of mishit it in the end. Either way, the puck stayed out and the Oilers lead persisted despite Nashville’s best efforts.
Toward the end of the period, Mattias Janmark drew a penalty right in front of Edmonton’s bench. Cue Connor McDavid:
the human highlight reel is back at it. connor mcdavid gives the oilers a 5-3 lead. pic.twitter.com/zVxrqqO5IT— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
Nashville started the third period on the front foot and earned their fifth PP of the game through a Brad Malone high stick. Edmonton’s PK both didn’t have to do much and did exactly enough to kill the chance without incident.
From there, Edmonton stabilized at 5v5. The two teams traded medium shifts for most of the rest of the game. Toward the very tail end, Jesse Puljujarvi started getting some ice with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl — unfortunately, likely to showcase him for Anaheim Ducks GM Pat Verbeek, who followed the Oilers from Minnesota to Nashville presumably to scout the Bison King — and set up McDavid for a couple of good looks the captain couldn’t see through. That changed when Nashville pulled Lankinen with over 2 minutes remaining and Hyman on a hat trick.
zach hyman completes his first nhl hat trick and reads the nashville predators a bed time story. 6-3 oilers. pic.twitter.com/9Q3oBJmX3v— zach (@zjlaing) December 14, 2022
He got it. His first NHL hat trick. Pretty cool.
The last two minutes were a waste of time. The game was over. Neither side was interested in doing anything above going through the motions. 6-3. Final. Oilers outshot the Preds 37-32 in the end.
Whoever buys Jesse Puljujarvi is gonna get a smokin’ deal on a player with a lot of tools. Seems like it might be Anaheim.
Back home against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. 7PMish MST. LFG.