It was offside. Final Score: 5-4 Predators
Didn’t today feel like one of those games that the Oilers absolutely had to win? After floating around .500 on this road trip the Oilers needed to find a way to get to points to keep their position in the Pacific Division. As we all know, the Preds have owned the Oilers over the past 10 years and the trend has continued this season. Much like what happened against the Coyotes, Edmonton needed to find a sacrifice or tribute to offer up to the hockey gods as a means to break this weird curse they have running against Nashville. Not to mention, the Predators are five points back of the Oilers and it was in their best interest to not only keep them there but to increase the distance.
With the way the game started, I wasn’t sure that the Oilers were going to have a chance to get themselves started let alone win the hockey game. After a buffet of power play chances landed in Nashville’s kitchen, resulting in two first period goals, it looked like the Oilers were going to be forced to chase all night long. That said, when Edmonton started to get opportunities of their own they struggled to execute at first until the floodgates seemed to open up in the middle frame. After refusing to quit and clawing their way back into the game with three second-period goals, the Oilers set themselves up to win the game after what ended up being a confusing first 40 minutes.
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With 60 minutes in the books, all I can really say is that the Oilers weren’t able to keep climbing out of the holes they put themselves in despite the valiant effort required just to keep getting themselves back into the hockey game. Actually, all the good moments got lost in the ether as their mistakes (and a little ref assistance) came back to haunt them. Edmonton managed to tie the game up on two separate occasions but their luck ran out after a botched Coach’s Challenge went Nashville’s way, allowing a goal that seemed clearly offside. That said, the Oilers weren’t nearly sharp enough in all three zones of the ice and you have to give credit to Nashville for being able to cash in on our opportunities, regardless of whether or not they earned them.
The Oilers desperately need a win on Tuesday because the rest of the Pacific Division seems to have woken up.
Wrap it up.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Ryan Ellis had just scored the power play goal for the Preds to give them the lead until Connor McDavod decided that he didn’t like that storyline. Connor tied the game only 28 seconds after the Preds open the scoring on an amazing rush goal (his 21st) where he walked Roman Josi like he was some kind of plug. Saying the kid is ridiculously special is almost insulting. McDavid was all over the ice tonight and was easily the best Oiler forward, as per tradition.
  • Milan Lucic got his 13th goal of the year by parking himself in front of the net and getting his stick in the shooting lane to get a piece of Connor’s shot from the side boards.
  • Mark Letestu wired his 12th goal of the season off of a one-timer from the side boards. Connor set Letestu up with an easy pitch down broadway and Elk Point’s finest made no mistake.
  • Jordan Eberle made a nice play in the slot to get his 13th goal of the season to find the net behind Rinne. Ebs took a nice little feed from Andrej Sekera off the boards and Ebs sunk his mark in the corner pocket.
  • Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom were the two best defenders tonight and were the only ones that seemed able to keep the puck moving the right way.
  • Darnell Nurse made his first appearance since December and found himself in the lineup after missing 37 games. It wasn’t a perfect game for Darryl but it was definitely nice to see his speed coming out of the backend.
  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENE!

THE FACE PALMERS

  • The Oilers got caught handling the puck near the bench while they were trying to make a change and it was an easy too many men call for the refs to make. The Preds moved the puck around well until Ryan Ellis teed off on a nice feed from PK Subban that beat Talbot and gave Nashville a short-lived lead.
  • Filip Forsberg is seeing the NHL in slow motion right now as he scored his eighth goal in his last four games. Forsberg’s goal was the second power play goal of the night for Nashville, both scored before the Oilers even had a single chance with the man advantage.
  • Vernon Fiddler beat Talbot by firing off a quick shot that the Oilers’ netminder would likely want to have back. Talbot got a piece of the puck but it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net.
  • Colin Wilson made a night move out of the corner to get past Darnell Nurse and basically had an open path to the front of the net. Once he got there, he placed a perfect backhander just inside the bar for his 10th goal of the season.
  • Not the best game for Talbot tonight but I don’t think he had much help in front of him either. In the end, Dadbot didn’t stop enough to get the job done and the Oilers will have to take that as a team effort. Talbot finished the night with 23 saves and a .821 save%
  • 35% in the faceoff circle. Gross.
  • The Oilers also allowed three power play goals on the night which ended up being the difference. They couldn’t keep up with Nashville’s power play game and it helped contribute to an L in the standings. It wasn’t even a bad night though as the power play did cash in on two of their four opportunities.
  • The penalty killers need to reset after that one. That said, man it looks great to have big shooting options from the point.
  • I’m not going to complain about the refs. I’m not going to complain about the refs. I’m not going to complain about the refs…
  • OKAY I NEED TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE REFS! Can someone explain the point of the coach’s challenge if the NHL is going to be blatantly wrong on their calls? The Predators had a guy in mid-air while Johanson entered the zone and yet it wasn’t called even when challenged? Thanks for the six-minute delay, though. Ridiculous.
  • I’ve probably missed something but I feel like death and wanted to get this done. Feel free to tell me what else went wrong in the comments below.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIMETEAMDETAILSSCORE
04:55
PPG – Ryan Ellis (10) ASST: P.K. Subban (21), Calle Jarnkrok (11)
0-1
05:23
Connor McDavid (21) ASST: Patrick Maroon (11)
1-1
14:34
PPG – Filip Forsberg (24) ASST: James Neal (13), Ryan Johansen (38)
1-2

2ND PERIOD

TIMETEAMDETAILSSCORE
07:29
Vernon Fiddler (2) ASST: Roman Josi (24), P.K. Subban (22)
1-3
14:12
PPG – Milan Lucic (13) ASST: Connor McDavid (50), Oscar Klefbom (16)
2-3
15:21
Colin Wilson (10) ASST: James Neal (14), Mattias Ekholm (18)
2-4
16:25
PPG – Mark Letestu (12) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (17)
3-4
19:00
Jordan Eberle (13) ASST: Andrej Sekera (20)
4-4

3RD PERIOD

TIMETEAMDETAILSSCORE
01:19
PPG – Viktor Arvidsson (21) ASST: James Neal (15), Roman Josi (25)
4-5

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