EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—In the midst of a five-game trip, the Nashville Predators needed to get back on track, and they needed to do it quickly.
“It was a great play by him,” Spaling said. “It was also a great play by Craig Smith(notes) to keep it in. We had the forecheck going, and he was in the middle to create the turnover. I was just trying to find an open spot, and Toots did a good job winning the puck battle behind the net.”
“We played with a lot more of the things that you need to have to win,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “We played with a lot more intensity and structure. It was getting a little nerve-racking because we had numerous chances, 14 or 15 in the second period, and were tied 1-1. That was a big goal by the Smith line with Spaling and Tootoo.”
“I’ve just been working hard, waiting for a chance to get in for a start,” he said. “I got great help from the whole team. We played a great game over the whole ice, which made it easier for me.”
“We were being a little too pretty,” Eberle said.
Edmonton coach Tom Renney agreed that his team didn’t do enough to pull out the win.
“I thought our compete level had to improve,” he said. “As a team, we passed up opportunities to put pucks on net and create havoc on rebounds. It was way too easy for Nashville.
“It’s the NHL, shoot the puck.”
Edmonton took a 1-0 lead 7:07 in on its first shot of the game. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins(notes) made a nice move to spin around a defender and got the puck to Eberle, who lifted his own rebound off a defender and over the glove of goalie Anders Lindback for his eighth goal.
Nashville was given a big break six minutes into the second period when Ryan Jones(notes) was given a major penalty for elbowing after a big hit on Blake Geoffrion(notes). Geoffrion left the game and didn’t return.
The Predators tied it 1-1 just before time expired on a power play when Weber’s shot from the right circle sneaked past Khabibulin.
Nashville controlled play in the second period, taking a 22-11 shots lead into the third.
The Oilers came close yet again when Horcoff’s shot caromed off of Predators defenseman Kevin Klein(notes) and hit the post before the puck was smothered by Lindback. The play stood up to a video review.
After Spaling’s goal, Edmonton had a few chances with the goalie pulled but couldn’t get even.
NOTES: Edmonton won the two previous meetings with Nashville this season. The Oilers chased Predators goalie Pekka Rinne(notes) last Tuesday in Nashville during a 6-2 victory. … Edmonton forward Taylor Hall(notes) will be sidelined for 2-to-4 weeks because of a left shoulder injury sustained Saturday in Colorado. Magnus Paajarvi(notes) took his place on a line with Horcoff and Ales Hemsky(notes). Paajarvi played in his 100th NHL game. Teammate Ryan Jones played in his 200th. … Oilers D Andy Sutton(notes) (groin) has begun skating with the team. … Nashville was without D Francis Bouillon(notes) (groin). … The Predators are 9-0-2 when they hold their opponent to two goals or fewer.