1st Period: There were lots of infractions by both teams that the referees let go. But the Oilers would get a powerplay at 6:38 when Jeremy Lauzon held down Leon Draisaitl. I thought at first that Draisaitl was getting the penalty because Lauzon went down before Draisaitl, and I heard the fans in the building booing. But then, when the commercial break was over, I could hear Rogers Place playing the music that comes on when the Oilers get a PP and was confused until the play continued. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on that PP off a quick shot after a pass from Draisaitl. Connor McDavid got the secondary assist on the goal. Zach Hyman got a penalty after driving to the net on a rush. That resulted in Nashville’s starting goalie, Kevin Kankinen, going down and signaling a goalie interference penalty. Edmonton killed off the penalty, and Hyman got the puck to go on a breakaway after stepping out of the penalty box. It was a great pass out of the defensive zone by Connor Brown to set up Hyman, and Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier did a good job at limiting Hyman to just a spin move, shooting the puck wide of the net. Corey Perry impressed me in his first 20 minutes as an Oilers. He was already being a pain in the rear and making things happen in front of the net. It created chances for Ryan McLeod and Dylan Holloway, and he was even put on the second unit PP. Pretty soon, as Perry gets more comfortable in Edmonton, those chances around the net will turn into goals. Total shots on goal were 9-7, favoring the Oilers.
Second Period: McDavid hit the post after a subtle backhand pass near him by Hyman. Then Hyman missed a wide-open chance beside the net off a pass from Draisaitl. A minute later, Holloway rushed with the puck and made a power move on Luke Schenn but shot the puck wide of Lankinen. Filip Forsberg, who had glorious chances against Stuart Skinner all afternoon, made a nifty move on Nugent-Hopkins and had Skinner down but shot the puck wide of the net. None of these chances counted as shots on goal, but I consider them some of the best chances in the whole game. Lauzon got his second penalty of the game, and it resulted in a second PP goal for Edmonton. McDavid nearly flubbed on the puck at the blue line, but that mistake was a good setup for his team. The Oilers continued moving the puck around, and then McDavid fed Draisaitl to score the 2-0 goal. That second goal is also Draisaitl’s 800th NHL point. The same three players credited with the first goal are credited with the second goal. Just a moment later, Darnell Nurse was given a penalty. The Predators were unsuccessful in cutting the deficit. Vincent Desharnais got a good ovation from the fans after making a diving play on the penalty kill. Defenseman Ryan McDonaugh snuck in under the faceoff dot and got a great scoring chance. Skinner came up with another great save. The puck was dumped in behind Nashville’s net. Miscommunication between Lankinen and Roman Josi allowed Brown to make a pass behind the net to Mattias Janmark. Lankinen bailed himself out with the save to keep it a two goal game. Shots on goal in the second period were 9-6, favoring the Predators, and 16-15, also in their favor, after two periods of play.
Third Period: Heading into the final frame, Nashville had three come-from-behind victories this season. Brown made his second behind-the-net pass, this time feeding McLeod, and Lankinen came up with another great save. Before the 10 minute mark of the period, Nashville was looking strong with six shots on goal. Hyman wins a foot race against Carrier for the puck. The Oilers were able to build pressure in the offensive zone, and McDavid banked a shot off behind Lankinen to make it 3-0. The Predators looked like the better team all period long, but it sometimes only takes one shift to make all the difference. With 6:35 left in the game, Colton Scissons broke the shutout bid for Skinner. Give credit to the Predators for a hardworking goal well earned. They were never quitting, and they had tons of chances to score again and make a comeback. But Hyman was eventually able to score an empty net goal, and that’s now his second consecutive 30-goal season. For the second Saturday in a row, Hyman scored an empty net goal by skating hard to get the puck back. Shots on goal in the third period were 14-6 and tallied up to 30-21, favoring the Predators. But the Oilers hung on to take the 4-1 victory and are now the second team in NHL history to have 16 consecutive wins.
This was their last game before the NHL All-Star break. They will be back on Tuesday, February 6th, starting a road trip against the Vegas Golden Knights.