Predators fall to Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta — Jordan Eberle had a pair of goals and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers cruised past the Nashville Predators 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Sam Gagner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall also scored for the Oilers, who have won two in a row and are 10-4-3 in their past 17 games.
Gabriel Bourque scored the lone goal for the Predators, who have lost two in a row and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. They are nine points out of the last postseason berth in the Western Conference with just 13 games remaining.
The game started on a rough note just 48 seconds in as Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis pasted Eberle into the boards on a cross-check from behind, igniting a scrum.
The Predators came close to scoring with five minutes remaining in the first period as they took a bit of a surprise shot on Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth, who then prevented Patric Hornqvist from getting to the rebound in the crease.
Edmonton broke the scoreless deadlock with 35 seconds left in the opening frame as the rebound from Martin Marincin’s point shot came to Gagner in the blue paint and he hooked a backhander past Pekka Rinne.
The Predators came close to tying it four minutes into the second, but Nick Spaling’s shot rang off the post.
Edmonton made it 2-0 eight minutes into the second as Eberle made a long cross-ice pass through traffic on the power play to Nugent-Hopkins, who wrested a shot that went off the tip of Rinne’s glove and in. It was the 16th goal of the season for Nugent-Hopkins, breaking a 15-game scoreless drought.
The Oilers took a three-goal lead on a bit of an unusual play with five minutes left in the second period as Hall took a backhand golf swing of a shot that found the top corner and quickly exited the net. Play continued for 1:17 before the Oilers took a penalty and the shot was reviewed and determined to be a goal.
Nashville got on the board with 1:21 remaining in the second as Hornqvist took the puck behind the net before hooking it in front to Bourque, who sent a shot through traffic to beat Fasth.
Edmonton made it 4-1 in the third period with another power-play goal. Anton Lander picked up his first point of the season on a nice feed to Eberle at the side of the net as he lifted a backhand shot that ticked off of Rinne and in.
Eberle scored his second goal of the game just 1:23 later, breaking into the Nashville zone with speed and scoring his 23rd of the season on a low backhander.
Rinne was then replaced by backup Carter Hutton.