Leon Draisaitl fires home two as Edmonton Oilers evade Predators

Leon Draisaitl scored twice in the third period as the Edmonton Oilers came from behind to knock off the Nashville Predators 3-2 Saturday night at Rogers Place.

“We competed hard,” head coach Dave Tippett said. “It was a tight game. I thought both teams played real hard.”

LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett

Craig Smith scored the only goal of the first period, putting a rebound from a Roman Josi point shot past Mike Smith.

“I don’t think we started with the energy that we needed to counter what they were doing,” Smith said. “They’ve played well of late and they’re a veteran team that’s been in the playoffs before and knows what it takes.”

The teams traded goals late in the second. Nick Bonino deflected a point shot out of the air and under Smith to make it 2-0.

With 8.1 seconds left in the frame, Juuse Saros stopped Connor McDavid’s wrist shot. The rebound went off the skate of Predators penalty killer Kyle Turris and rolled back into the net. The goal was credited to Alex Chiasson.

“That goal was big. Obviously if you go down in the third 2-0, it’s a lot harder to come back than from 2-1,” Draisaitl said.

“During the year, I think our power play has been good that way,” Oscar Klefbom said. “It gives us momentum, even if we don’t score. It’s been effective this year and it needs to stay that way.”

Sharks take big bite out of Edmonton Oilers

Early in the third, Draisaitl took a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and stormed in down the left side, beating Saros with a low shot. That duo connected again on a four-on-three power play with 6:58 to go.

Nugent-Hopkins slid a pass across to Draisaitl, who rifled it top shelf.

“It’s about sticking with it. It doesn’t have to be pretty,” Draisaitl said. “Two points is two points for us. It’s a ‘gutty’ win for us and I think that’s huge for our group.”

LISTEN BELOW: Leon Draisaitl

“I really liked our game,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “I thought we played well enough to win. I think unfortunately a couple of bad bounces went in, particularly that first goal. We have to find a way to kill that 4-on-3. But I think there’s a lot to build off of from tonight’s game. Unfortunately we didn’t find a way to win it. But I think if we play like we played tonight more often we’ll find ways to win games.”

Oilers goalie Mike Smith played in his 600th NHL game. He made 27 saves to go to 7-0-2 in his last nine decisions.

“I feel like my game is the best it’s been all season long and I want to continue that in the most important games of the year,” Smith said. “I want to be my best–the best I can be at this time of the season and when it means the most, that’s the most fun time to play. Obviously there’s ups and downs through the course of the season and you’ve got to stay even keel as possible. Right now it’s going well and you’ve just got to ride it when it’s hot.”


McDavid took a hard fall into the boards

“He’s got a little bruise on top of his knee,” Tippett said. “They looked at it between periods, he iced it, and they wanted him to ice it right after the game. I asked him how he was doing and he said, ‘I’m fine, I’m playing’.”

The Oilers, 29-20-6, will host Chicago on Tuesday.

With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Kyle Morris

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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