The young Edmonton Oilers
were buzzing again, but it was their veteran forward who ultimately burned the Nashville Predators
on Monday night.
scored the game winner and added an assist as the Oilers skated away with a 3-1 victory against the Preds at Rexall Place.
and Ryan Jones
also scored and captain Shawn Horcoff
had three assists for the Oilers, who are off to a 2-1-1 start after finishing in last place for two straight seasons.
"It was an all-around 60-minute game from everyone tonight," said Smyth. "We played physical and got pucks to the net and when you do that good things will happen."
replied for the Predators (2-2-1), who have lost three in a row after launching the season with a pair of victories.
"That was one of the worst losses I've ever been part of," defenseman Shea Weber
The Oilers had the bulk of the good scoring opportunities in the scoreless first period as their young stars buzzed the net. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne
was particularly sharp making a quick glove save at the side of the net before Hall could bat the puck out of the air. Jordan Eberle
also missed the net on a couple of quality chances.
The Predators scored the game's first goal, however, just two minutes into the second. Kostitsyn elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 attempt and Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin
was only able to get a piece of it before turning to watch the puck trickle into the net.
Edmonton had a good flurry of chances with a loose puck in front of the net on a late second period power play before time expired to keep it a 1-0 game, despite Edmonton outshooting Nashville 19-9 over the first 40 minutes.
"It all comes down to effort and work ethic," Rinne said. "It comes down to those simple things and we're not doing them."
The Oilers finally were rewarded for their pressure five minutes into the third period as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
earned his first career NHL assist, making a nice feed to Hall on the power play.
Just two minutes later Edmonton had the lead as Horcoff made a perfect pass through to Smyth, and he undressed Rinne with a backhand move to make it 2-1.
"I was impressed with the effort we came out with in the third," Horcoff said. "We really took it to them. The power play goal got us the momentum and we were able to go from there. It was a really good win for us, and hopefully a momentum-builder going forward."
Jones scored into an empty net with 40 seconds remaining.
"They led us, no question," Oilers coach Tom Renney said of his veterans. "That gives the kids a chance to go out there and play the exuberant game they do. The veteran players really have to step up and play games like this."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.