The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Nashville Predators to the tune of a 4-0 shutout on Thursday night. Mike Smith was fantastic in Oiler net stopping all 30 shots that he faced while Leon Draisaitl notched goals 52,53, and 54 for the hattrick. Darnell Nurse added the other Oilers marker.
A much-needed win after a few consecutive losses, lets's see how we got there...
Edmonton had an energetic start to this, jumping to a 5-0 lead on the shot clock. Kris Russell had the first noteworthy play with a beautiful open-ice hit on Mikael Granlund.
Oilers were tenacious on the forecheck in the early goings, forcing turnovers and getting some decent zone-time—a flip of the script of what we usually see when these two teams play each other. The pressure eventually resulted in a Nashville penalty, giving the Oilers an opportunity to open up the scoring.
They would do just that as a tick-tack-toe play ended with Leon Draisaitl blasting home his 52nd of the year. 1-0 Edmonton. They didn’t have to wait long to get another opportunity on the PP as Luke Kunin took an interference penalty.
Edmonton spent almost the entire chance in the Preds zone but wasn’t able to convert. Tanner Jeannot had a beautiful chance in the slot after killing the penalty only to be foiled by Mike Smith.
Evan Bouchard would add a post but no other pucks would find twine. Edmonton went into the second up 1-0.
Nashville got their turn on the PP early in the second off a high-stick from Warren Foegele. The chance would come and go with no consequences as Edmonton effectively killed it off.
Evander Kane had a fantastic opportunity to extend the lead picking off a turnover at the Nashville blueline. He blazed right through broadway but his shot landed square in Juuse Saro’s chest.
Draisaitl was eventually able to find that insurance marker sending a wrister through heavy traffic into the back of the net. Leon has a multi-goal night and a career-high 53 goals on the season as Edmonton opens up a 2-0 lead.
Darnell Nurse added a shorthanded marker a few minutes later to extend that lead to 3-0. It was a perfect shot right in the slot that beat Saros on the blocker side. Edmonton in complete control in this one late in the second period.
That’s how this one would end...Edmonton just a mere 20 minutes away from picking up a critical win.
Nashville was on a mission to start the final frame. Matt Duchene had a fantastic chance in the first 30 seconds but Smith was able to make a fantastic glove save to keep the Preds off the board.
That pressure eventually resulted in Colton Scissons slamming in a goal for the Predators, cutting the lead to 3-1. Except they didn’t at all. Edmonton challenged for an offside and it was called back. Oilers retain their 3-0 lead with about 16 minutes left to play.
Derek Ryan came as close as you possibly could making it a 4-0 game. He ripped a wrist shot that beat Saros five-hole and initially looked like it hit the back of the net. Yet, on replay, it did in fact hit the post.
Edmonton would get that fourth goal as it would be Draisaitl on the PP sniping home his third to complete the hattrick and his 54th goal of the season. Oilers up 4-0 on the back of three Draisaitl goals.
That would be all she wrote as Mike Smith picks up his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory.
- Leon Draisaitl made a little bit of Edmonton Oilers history tonight. His three goals put him in some exclusive territory as only Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Glenn Anderson have reached that total in franchise history. One more would make him just the third Oiler to reach 55 goals in a season alongside Kurri and Gretzky. To put it bluntly, Leon Draisaitl is one of the best goalscorers in Oilers history...which is saying something.
- Mike Smith was excellent tonight. He was tested on some great chances early on in the game and steadied the ship in the third period to stifle a Nashville comeback. Oilers got some good goaltending from the veteran tonight. Well-deserved shutout.
- The powerplay looked deadly all night long. They scored on two of the four chances but it could have easily been four for four. That aspect of their game hasn’t been quite as deadly as it once was so it was nice to see it rebound. The penalty kill was also effective, killing off all three penalties on the night.
- I’m not a huge Kris Russell guy but props to him for coming into the lineup after a while and making his presence known. Grit is an overstated part of the game but it makes for good television.
- Connor McDavid hit Matt Benning a bit high in the second that the Nashville Predators dubbed as ‘vicious’, but I disagree. I will agree that it was a bit high but there was no intent to hit the head and it was with his shoulder. He was called for roughing on the play and I think that is the proper punishment. A suspension on that would be rather ridiculous.
- Jesse Puljujarvi doesn’t need to get points to be effective. I liked his game tonight once again...a very consistently good 200-foot player.
- A game after getting embarrassed by Minnesota the Oilers took it to the Preds all night long. They smothered Nashville in the first period and kept the pedal to the metal all night long. A good reset that hopefully spurns them onto a new winning streak to end the season.
- The Oilers take home a much-needed win to improve to 43-26-6 on the season and 92 points on the year. LA is behind Edmonton with 88 points while Vegas is looking like they will move to 87 if they hold on against Calgary. Edmonton still has some work to do if they want to catch the 99-point Flames. The next game is set to go against Vegas this Saturday at Rogers Place