EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Leon Draisaitl scored twice and the Edmonton Oilers rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Saturday night.
“At this time of year it’s about sticking with it, it doesn’t have to be pretty,” Draisaitl said. “Two points is two points. It’s a gutty win for us and that’s huge for our group.”
Alex Chiasson also scored for the Oilers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said Draisaitl stepped up to the plate to counter a couple of off nights in the previous games.
“He is such a dominant player when he plays a big, strong game,” he said. “That’s where he was tonight. He just holds the puck and can dominate the game at times.
“He knew things weren’t going as well as he liked and he knows he is one of the leaders on our team and he played with a purpose to turn it around, and tonight he did.”
Craig Smith and Nick Bonino scored for the Predators, who lost for the second time in six games.
“I thought we deserved better,” Nashville head coach John Hynes said. “I really liked our game. I thought we played well enough to win, unfortunately a couple of bad bounces went in, particularly the first goal and then we have to find a way to kill that four-on-three.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t find a way to be able to win it, but I think if we play like we did tonight, more times than not, we’re going to find a way to win games.”
Nashville started the scoring 12 minutes into the first period as Smith poked a backhand off a rebound past Oilers goalie Mike Smith for his 12th goal of the season.
With Predators goalie Juuse Saros keeping the Oilers off the board, Nashville made it 2-0 with three minutes to play in the second period when Bonino was able to tip in his 17th goal of the season off a shot by Dan Hamhuis.
Edmonton got a power-play goal with nine seconds left in the second when Connor McDavid’s shot hit Chiasson on the way to the net and was accidentally kicked into the net by Nashville’s Kyle Turris.
The Oilers tied the game four minutes into the third when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a deft backhand pass to Draisaitl, who moved up the left side and sent a shot off the post and in.
Draisaitl gave Edmonton the lead on a 4-on-3 power play with seven minutes left in the third, sending a shot into the top corner for his 31st of the season.
Nashville pushed hard to even the score in the final minute, but Edmonton was able to hang on.
NOTES: It was the second of three meetings between the teams, with the Oilers winning the first encounter 4-2 on Jan. 14 in Edmonton. … The Predators are averaging 3.56 goals per game on the road this season, which is good for third-most in the NHL. … In the Edmonton net, Smith was playing in his 600th NHL game. He came into the contest with a record of 256-245-72. … Out with injuries for the Oilers were Joakim Nygard (hand), Kris Russell (concussion) and James Neal (foot), while the Predators were without Ryan Ellis (upper body) and Calle Jarnkrok (illness).
Predators: Close out a four-game trip in Vancouver on Monday.
Oilers: Finish a three-game homestand against Chicago on Tuesday.
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