Predators 6 Oilers 3
EDMONTON — Down 2-0 early in the first to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, Nashville coach Barry Trotz knew the next goal was going to be key.
“If (the Oilers) had gotten a third goal I think we would have been talking about something else tonight,” said Trotz after the Predators overcame an early deficit to win their third in a row, 6-3 over the Oilers.
“But we scored and started believing a little bit.”
Patric Hornqvist scored twice and added an assist for the Predators, who have gone 5-0-1 in their last six to move into a tie for first place with Chicago in the Central Division on 45 points.
Down 2-0 five minutes in, the Predators yanked goaltender Pekka Rinne in favour of Dan Ellis.
“We were sleeping at the start,” said Trotz. “We played back-to-back games and then had a big travel day and we just didn’t have any legs. But I felt the next goal of the game would mean everything at that point and that we needed to wake up and go after it.”
Ryan Jones, Joel Ward, Jerred Smithson and Marcel Goc also scored for the Predators (21-11-3).
Ellis has been impressed with how his team has battled of late.
“That has been our team lately,” he said.
“We’ve shown a lot of resiliency as a team. We’ve put a lot of pressure on the net and made it difficult for other teams to play their game. We had a bit of a slow start but we picked our game up and were able to seal the deal.”
Robert Nilsson replied with a pair of goals and Lubomir Visnovsky added the other for the Oilers (15-15-4), who have lost two in a row since returning home from a five game winning streak on the road.
“Losing gracefully has been the standard here for a while,” said Oilers assistant captain Sheldon Souray. “When we go on the road and put hard work and have a team first attitude, it raises our standards. Good teams have that level consistently.
“We’re a team that takes two steps forward and two steps back, and that gets you nothing. We don’t want that to be acceptable.”
Oilers head coach Pat Quinn, angry for the first time this season after his team’s 3-2 loss to the L.A. Kings on Tuesday, was again frustrated.
“We had a nice start and then a couple weak goals went in and we didn’t bounce back and fight back hard enough,” said Quinn. “Three doorstep goals again. Call them lucky or whatever you want, but we aren’t helping (Oilers’ goalie Jeff Deslauriers).”