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GAME STORY: Predators 3, Oilers 2 (SO)

The Oilers lose to Predators in a shootout 3-2, in a wild, physical meeting

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Video: OILERS TODAY | Oilers vs. Predators Post-Game

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers were defeated in a shootout, 3-2 by the Nashville Predators, in what was a wildly entertaining and untamed game.

Late in the third period, the Predators poked the bear Milan Lucic and ended up becoming the prey.

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With the Oilers down 2-1 in the third period and on the power play, Lucic showed that the strong survive when he collided with Austin Watson behind the Oilers net, crushing him in the process. Watson pursued Lucic after the hit and got called for roughing when he checked the Oilers winger after the whistle had gone.

Lucic puffed his chest soon after when he scored on the ensuing power play, tying the game up and forcing overtime.

"There was a lot of emotions from both sides," said Lucic, who finished the game with one goal, a fight, three hits and seven penalty minutes in 14:51 of ice time. "When things aren't going well for you as of late in the scoresheet you kind of have to sometimes just get yourself involved physically and emotionally to break the drought that you're on."

It wasn't all Lucic, though, as Cam Talbot was the backbone for the Oil once again, facing 44 shots in the barbaric tilt.

"It's always disappointing when you lose in a shootout like that," said the Oilers netminder. "You never want to give up any points, especially now, we need to start separating ourselves from teams below us and catch the guys ahead of us. Anytime you give up a point it's never good but we got one tonight and we'll move on from there."

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan felt as though his club couldn't get in a rhythm.

"It was a game that unfolded that probably favoured a team that played the night before," said McLellan. "One, they were a little bit quicker than we were and I thought they were harder. But the rhythm and flow of the game was: stop, start, scramble. We never got into a skating type game where we could maybe tire them out."

Two fights, 51 hits and 46 minutes of penalties proved that it was a feisty affair. The Predators were on the prowl early in the game when only seven seconds in Craig Smith got a step ahead on Oscar Klefbom but couldn't beat Talbot on a wrist shot.

The Preds kept on the pursuit, recording the first five shots on goal to no avail. Nashville's attempt to dig their teeth into Edmonton in the beginning of the game didn't work. The Oilers, undaunted by the Preds' scare tactics and early offensive prowess, snared their attempts, including a 5-on-3 power play.

Patrick Maroon got a penalty for hooking and then a Matthew Benning clearing attempt went out of play. Benning was called for delay of game, giving the Predators 1:07 of 5-on-3 time.

Nothing came of the man-advantage, due to a combination of sound penalty killing by Andrej Sekera, Kris Russell and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and superb goaltending by Talbot. 

With the Oilers getting outshot 8-3, Patrick Maroon struck a fight with Watson, prompting the rough stuff. Then, Yannick Weber irked Milan Lucic, who would go on to fight Cody McLeod.

That also woke the Oilers up, with power play chances galore from Lucic on the Preds' doorstep and then Benoit Pouliot on a partial breakaway.

The scoring didn't begin until late in the second period. With a herd of bodies in front of Talbot and after two saves on Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg, the puck squirted out to Viktor Arvidsson who put it over the Oiler netminder's pad at 17:12.

Edmonton answered soon after. Zack Kassian got in on the forecheck, forcing Pekka Rinne to bobble the puck and place it into his own corner. Kassian then retrieved the puck, fed it to a wide open Matt Hendricks who put enough mustard on a wrist shot to squeeze it through the pads of Rinne.

The Predators got ahead in the third frame when Ellis scored while the teams were playing 4-on-4 hockey. With McLeod and Hendricks in the box, Ellis' floater from the point found its way to the back of the net.

"I think there was three of our guys in the lane and they all just kind of moved and let the floater come in, I didn't see it until the last second," said Talbot.

Lucic then tied the game up when on the power play and forced overtime.

The game nearly ended when Ryan Johansen hit the post with just over 30 seconds left in the extra frame. 

Ellis and James Neal scored in the shootout to push the Preds over the Oilers.

The Oilers are now 25-15-8 with 58 points. They are tied with the San Jose Sharks in points and sit third in the Pacific Division.

The club prepares for another edition of the Battle of Alberta on Saturday night.

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