NASHVILLE, TN -
Two goals in a 51 second span during the second period gave the Oilers the lead and they would hold on behind the performance of Ilya Bryzgalov in net to feast on the Predators with a 3-0 win on American Thanksgiving in Nashville.
"It was a game where there were never any nerves," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "It was a game that from start to finish, to a man, we played well. They stuck with what we've been trying to do. They supported each other in a textbook game.
Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to Edmonton's David Perron and Nashville's Paul Gaustad opened up some extra ice with 4-on-4 action and the Oilers would use that to their advantage.
"We're a fast, skilled team," said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "We have to take opportunities when we get them. 4-on-4 is a situation that when we play our game, we can get a couple of goals."
Defenceman Jeff Petry fired a shot from the top of the face-off circle on Marek Mazanec and Nugent-Hopkins was waiting at the top of the crease to deflect the puck in and give his team the 1-0 lead. Jordan Eberle received the second assist on the goal at 5:32.
Less than a minute later, Sam Gagner found Taylor Hall on a 2-on-2 rush and Hall made a nice backhanded deke on Mazanec, burying the puck for the 2-0 lead.
Either they were good or we were bad, whichever you want, we lost coverage, the forwards lost coverage on the D and actually it opened up everything and that's where Nugent-Hopkins could come to the point there and redirect the point," said Nashville Head Coach Barry Trotz. "I don't know if it was anything good, it was a bad read by the winger there and they were able to be seamless then after that, D drive in the middle."
Bryzgalov was steady in his first start in net as a member of the Oilers organization. The 33-year-old Russian backstop denied 33 shots in the win.
"It was great," Bryzgalov said. "Shutouts are always fun... The team played well. They had a couple chances, but that's what the goalie's for. I have to make the saves."
Eberle iced the game with the empty-net goal with 56.2 seconds remaining in the third period. Hall and Nick Schultz earned the assists on the goal and the Oilers took the 3-0 lead and that would be the final score.