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GAME STORY: Predators 2, Oilers 1

Oilers have late goal called back due to offside coaches challenge

by Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

NASHVILLE, TN - The Oilers looked to have tied the game late on a goal by Mark Letestu but it was ruled offside on video review. Despite a valiant effort to tie after that, the Oilers fell 2-1 in Nashville. 

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The Oilers five-game road trip continues with a game in Arizona on Friday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. MST.

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"I thought tonight we worked hard enough for a break. I'm not sure we were in that situation in prior games," said Oilers head coach Todd McLelan. "I was just talking to Peter and if we play like that, we'll have our opportunities to win games. It's a step in the right direction. I know it's about wins and losses and we can't paint a loss up but the guys competed hard."

Eight minutes into the game, Milan Lucic dumped Kyle Turris in the neutral zone and received two minutes for interference. Nashville received the first power play of the game as a result and it only took them eight seconds to convert for the game's opening goal. 

Cam Talbot stopped the initial blast from the point by P.K. Subban despite being screened in front by Viktor Arvidsson, who also deflected the shot. Craig Smith then poked in the rebound to make it 1-0.

Just over a minute later, Pekka Rinne stood tall on his first big test of the night, gloving a quick wrist shot from Pat Maroon at the left circle. 

Nashville made it 2-0 with 4:29 to go in the first. Talbot made a blocker save on a shot from the point by Roman Josi but the rebound went off the face of Adam Larsson and trickled over to Arvidsson at the right post. He had a wide-open net and backhanded the gimme in.

"Sometimes the bounces don't go your way. Off Larsson's face, offside's offside. That's what the rule's for. Apparently he picked his foot up so tough one. The guys gave us what we had," McLellan noted.

With 2:14 to go in the opening frame, McDavid broke in all alone and his deke attempt was gloved by Rinne. The Oilers captain was hooked for a good portion of the breakway, which frustrated the Oilers bench. 

"I can see one guy missing it, but two (on a) clear cut breakaway that goes into the pants at the blueline and comes down onto the ice at the top of the circle or near the hashmarks so it wasn't like it was a real quick play but somehow it didn't get called," McLellan fumed.

After one period, shots were 11-8 for Nashville. 

McDavid made amends for his missed breakaway only 45 seconds into the middle frame. The Oilers captain made a nice move, pulling the puck to his forehand and then firing it blocker side past Rinne to make it a one-goal game. 

"They're not rolling over and playing dead. That's a good sign. Coming out in the second and getting a goal early was important," McLellan stated. "Then to continue to apply pressure and push was also important for our team. Those were positives and obviously the negative is not getting the extra goal to at least get it to overtime. That's what we need to get to."

Video: Situation Room: Letestu's goal overturned on review

After two, shots on goal were 19-18 for the Oilers.  

Midway through the third, Talbot made a huge stop at the top of the crease on Smith, sliding across to deny him on the quick release. 

Oilers finally received their first power play of the game with 8:52 to go in the third. Subban was sent off for interference after holding up McDavid as the Oilers captain was leaving his zone.  

40 seconds into the kill, Colton Sissons skated in on a breakaway and was slashed from behind by Letestu. With Rinne off for the extra attacker, the Predators were able to play keep away for almost a minute before the Oilers were finally able to gain possession. 

Video: POST-GAME RAW | Connor McDavid

Shortly after that penalty expired, the Oilers rushed up ice and swarmed the Predators goal. Mark Letestu picked up a rebound and backhanded it past Rinne. However, Nashville challenged the play for offside. 

"We battled back hard and found a way to tie up the game and the guy's an arm hair offside and they call it back. It's obviously hard to agree with the rule and the video challenge but it didn't go our way but if it's on your side you love the rule," McDavid began, adding in his opinion the rule should not exist. 

"The number of calls that are a millimetre offside 45 seconds before the play, it doesn't have much of an effect on the goal itself. I think the fans want to see offence and if that's going to hold back from offence it's obviously frustrating."

Letestu echoed the thoughts of his captain. 

"It stings. I thought we were really good all night, solid. It's just funny how little the breaks - their second goal goes off our guy's face, sits in the crease for them. We get what seems like a goal and it's a very small infraction for offside, but it's offside the way the rule is called," he stated. "The way things are going right now, it's very difficult to not be frustrated. It's a useless emotion though and we've just got to keep playing."

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