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GAME STORY: Predators 4, Oilers 2

Arvidsson scores game-tying and game-winning goal as Preds score four unanswered

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers dropped a two-goal lead for the fourth time in their past six games as the Nashville Predators scored four unanswered to defeat Edmonton 4-2 Thursday at Rogers Place.

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The Oilers host the New York Rangers on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. MST. The game can be seen nationally on CBC, Sportsnet and heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.

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"I thought it was a fairly evenly matched game," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "When it was all said and done, we made a few more mistakes than they did and they capitalized more on our mistakes than we did on theirs."

Connor McDavid scored his 29th goal of the season and added an assist, putting him up to 77 points.

Leon Draisaitl struck on the power play for his 21st of the campaign, while Anton Slepyshev, Matt Benning and Ryan Strome each picked up single helpers.

Cam Talbot made 38 saves - including five on the power play - on 42 shots, ending the night with a .905 save percentage.

Edmonton was perfect in the special teams department, going 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and scoring on their only power play of the night.

In his first National Hockey League game, defenceman Ethan Bear had one shot on goal, two blocked shots, two penalty minutes and went minus-three in 14:42 of ice time.

"The game sheet is not going to give you a true story when it comes to his game," said McLellan. "I felt better and better with putting him on the ice as the game wore on."

Edmonton gained a two-goal in the first period but couldn't protect it, ultimately being toppled by four unanswered markers from the visitors.

"We need to find ways to win," said defenceman Darnell Nurse. "That's important, especially over the last week. Tonight we didn't find a way to win."

The Oilers opened the scoring for the sixth straight game, with McDavid finding the net at 11:01 of the first. 

A point shot bounced up high, causing a number of players from both teams to bunch up in front of Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. McDavid showed patience, waiting for the puck to hit the ice, retrieving it then waiting for Rinne to go down. The Oilers Captain dangled then stretched his stick across Rinne, tucking the puck into the net.

Video: Arvidsson leads Preds' comeback versus Oilers, 4-2

After killing a McDavid hooking minor, the Oilers got their own chance on the man-advantage and Draisaitl made it count.

The German sniped from a sharp angle, going top corner on Rinne at 19:07.

Edmonton took the 2-0 cushion into the second period but Nurse was given a roughing penalty with 1.3 seconds remaining, giving the Preds a power play to begin the middle frame.

Rinne stopped all nine shots he faced in the second - including a one-timer from Zack Kassian in the slot as well as McDavid on a breakaway - to keep his team within two. The high-flying Preds took full advantage of the goaltending they were receiving, scoring twice in the final four minutes of the period.

"We weren't able to capitalize on the chances that we got in the second," said forward Milan Lucic. "Good teams - when you give them chances and they hang around - find a way to get themselves back in it."

Scott Hartnell initiated the comeback at 16:28. After causing a turnover behind Edmonton's goal-line, Calle Jarnkrok moved the puck to Nick Bonino, who fed Hartnell on the doorstep.

Nashville equalized it with nine seconds remaining. Arvidsson capped on a 2-on-1 rush with Filip Forsberg, making it a brand new game in the final 20.

Video: THE OTHER SIDE | Predators Post-game

"The goal at the end of the second didn't help us at all," said McLellan.

The Preds pounced in the third, getting more solid goaltending from Rinne and more offence from Arvidsson. 

Rinne stood Nurse up twice in a row, eating his slap shot and then turning aside the ensuing rebound.

Then Arvidsson and Forsberg linked up in transition again, as Arvidsson slammed home a rebound for his second of the game to put the Preds up 3-2 at 14:52 of the third.

"We had a couple breakdowns by veteran players that should be able to make those plays late in the third and it cost us," McLellan said.

Austin Watson provided the Predators with insurance late to make it 4-2.

The Oilers continue their five-game home stand with a match against the New York Rangers on Saturday.

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