"My quick assessment is we're making the wrong choices," said Oilers winger Matt Hendricks. "We're allowing, not the players but the opposition to beat us. We're allowing their systems to beat us and play into their hands with turnovers and such."
The first period went by scoreless but it took just 1:26 into the second period for Nashville to open the scoring. The Preds came into the game 15-1-5 on the season when scoring first.
This first goal of the game came courtesy of a blistering Viktor Arvidsson slap shot that sizzled past Cam Talbot.
Nearing the midway point of the second period, animosity between the clubs came to a boiling point when Oilers winger Patrick Maroon and Predators winger Cody McLeod dropped the gloves. The two pugilists engaged in a spirited bout that required some attention in the dressing rooms, but both quickly returned to the ice.
"That was a playoff game. It had the playoff intensity," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "We're at that time of the year."
The Predators went up 2-0 with 38.2 seconds left in the second frame. Ryan Johansen buried a feed from Arvidsson to extend the home team's lead.
"We didn't make many mistakes. We made a few and they capitalized on them," said McLellan. "I thought they had more players going than we did. We missed some guys that we have to count on. There are a few players that play on the power play, they play a lot of minutes, and they didn't get a shot on goal tonight. A little poke in the ribs tomorrow for a few guys, it's playoff time, are you going to step up or fall off?"
Late in the game, things continued to be chippy with lots of hitting and chatter between the benches. Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl and Predators defenceman PK Subban engaged in some behind-the-play rough stuff near the Nashville net at one point in the third.
The Oilers pulled Talbot for the extra attacker with roughly two minutes to go, but they still could not get one past Rinne - who made 31 saves on the night.
The Oilers (28-17-8) don't have much time to regroup as they play the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night on the tail end of a back-to-back.