Smith scores twice, leads Predators to win over Oilers
The Nashville Predators rebounded from their first regulation loss of the season -- at the Edmonton Oilers' expense.
Craig Smith scored twice and Nashville beat Edmonton 4-1 on Wednesday night, four days after the Predators' home loss to Pittsburgh.
Shea Weber and Taylor Beck also scored and Pekka Rinne made 26 saves to help Nashville improve to 6-1-2 in the first game of a six-game trip.
"We came in here and did a pretty good job," Weber said. "That's a hot team. They had won four in a row. We knew we had to be ready. We didn't get a call early on and we stuck with it. The second period wasn't our best, but we got a couple of goals there and were able to get one early in the third and put them out of it."
Smith said his line was influenced by the return of Matt Cullen to the lineup. Cullen made his season debut after missing the first eight games because of an upper-body injury.
"I think our line played well and I think our unit was able to create some turnovers and use our speed to make plays," Smith said. "Cullen getting back in the lineup, I thought he was outstanding tonight, moving his feet well, I didn't think he missed a stride. I thought we played well tonight and were able to get a win."
Taylor Hall scored for Edmonton. The Oilers had won four straight after opening 0-4-1.
Edmonton is winless against Western Conference teams.
"It's unfortunate we can't beat teams in our division," Hall said. "We get zero points and they get two and get a leg up on us. It's tough. Tonight, wasn't really an effort that deserved two points, but at times during the game it was there to be taken. Unfortunately, we gave up a lead and couldn't get it back."
Smith opened the scoring at 6:23 of the second period when a rebound landed on his stick and he tucked it past Ben Scrivens for his second of the season.
The Predators made it 2-0 at 7:49 of the period. Colin Wilson spotted Beck get away from defender Brad Hunt and hit him on the fly for a goal into a wide-open net.
Weber's rocket from the point added to Nashville's lead 24 seconds into the third period. The play was set up when a turnover in the Oilers' zone went back to Weber.
Hall ended Rinne's shutout bid with 11:06 left. A big rebound on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' shot came to Hall, who buried his sixth of the season.
The Predators regained their three-goal cushion with 7:36 to play when Matt Cullen made a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 to feed Smith for his second of the night.
NOTES: The Predators are at Calgary on Friday night. ... The Oilers conclude their seven-game homestand Saturday night against Vancouver. ... It was the first of three games between the two teams this season, with the other two in Nashville.