Oilers 3, Predators 2
EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers inched another step closer to a playoff spot Sunday night, extending their points streak to four games (3-0-1) with a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.
The win moved the Oilers to within two points of the eighth seed while the Predators remain stalled in 10th.
Nashville seemed like an easy touch with just three wins in their last 11 games and playing without their leading scorer, but it's not like the Oilers, with four wins in their last 11, were running hot, either.
This was one both sides thought they should win.
It didn't seem like either side wanted to win it very much, however, given the slow and cautious pace.
After a scoreless and rather uneventful first period, the Oilers went ahead 1-0 on a power play goal from Magnus Paajarvi at 8:11. The Swedish winger, who had just two goals in his first 15 games, now has four in his last eight after banging home a rebound on the power play.
It seemed like a very important goal, given that the Preds were 10-0-5 when scoring first and 1-11-1 when the other team scored first.
Nashville's Shea Weber tied it on a power play goal of his own at 16:37, ripping a point shot into the top corner behind Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The goal tied it 1-1 and brought another rather dramatic stat into play -- the Oilers were 0-6-1 when tied after 40 minutes.
Nashville winger Sergei Kostitsyn wore the goat horns on the Oilers go-ahead goal. After the puck hopped over his stick to Sam Gagner in the Oilers end, Kostitsyn made a half-hearted back-check attempt and then, while just half a step behind Gagner at center, turned off to the Nashville bench for a change, giving Edmonton a shorthanded 2-on-1 that Lennart Petrell converted with a one-timer
Jordan Eberle broke a 10-game scoring slump a few minutes later to make it 3-1
Roman Josi made it 3-2 with 8.4 seconds to go.
NOTES: Predators forward Gabriel Bourque ha a team-leading nine goals heading into Sunday and has already surpassed his rookie total of seven in 43 games. He had five goals in his previous seven games. ... Nashville captain Shea Weber has 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in his last 15 games before Sunday and ranks fourth in the NHL in total minutes played (717:45). He's also in the NHL's top five in shots (74), hits (60) and blocked shots (55). ... Nashville entered Sunday 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) on the power play in its last five games after going 1-for-14 in the six games prior. ... Oilers defenseman Marc Fistric, who missed six games after a cut on his elbow became infected, returned to the lineup Sunday, as did left wing Ryan Jones, who sat out the last game with the flu. Edmonton center Eric Belanger is a game or two away from returning from a groin injury... Before Sunday, the Predators were 10-0-5 when scoring first and 1-11-1 when their opponent scores first. ... Magnus Paajarvi's goal was his fourth in the last eight games, after two in his first 16.
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