Edmonton Oilers let 2-0 lead slip away and lose to Predators

Nashville Predators' Ryan Johansen (92) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot (33) during first period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 1, 2018. .
Nashville Predators' Ryan Johansen (92) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot (33) during first period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 1, 2018. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Edmonton Oilers blew another lead, losing 4-2 to the Nashville Predators Thursday night at Rogers Place.

The Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but the Predators scored twice in the second and added two more in the third period to secure the victory.

“I thought it was a fairly evenly matched game but when it was all said and done, we made a few more mistakes than they did,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said after the game. “I thought they capitalized more on our mistakes than we did on theirs.”

LISTEN: Todd McLellan on 630 CHED

“A few mistakes hurt us but they are correctable,” added Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. “We came out with the right effort and a lot of guys had strong games and as long as we keep that compete level and bring that effort, then we are going to get on the right side of the board most nights.”

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Connor McDavid opened the scoring 11:01 into the first. He found a loose puck in front, extended to his forehand and slid it behind an outstretched Pekka Rinne. Leon Draisaitl made it 2-0 late in the first, sniping the Oilers’ first power play goal in 12 games.

McDavid had a chance to make it 3-0 with five-and-a-half minutes left in the second, but his forehand deke on a breakaway was denied by Rinne.

“It was a huge save. Peks was great today, he helped us win,” said Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson. “He had a huge save when it was 2-2 on the open net there, he got his stick on it, so he played great today.”

The Predators broke through two minutes later when Scott Hartnell was left alone in front and chipped a shot past Cam Talbot. Arvidsson tied it with 9.2 seconds left in the period.

Arvidsson scored again with 5:08 left in the third as he banged in a rebound. Austin Watson added some insurance less than two minutes later.

The Oilers have lost their last 12 games against Nashville.

Ethan Bear made his NHL debut on the Oilers blue-line.

“It was fun, the nerves were right up there and the excitement level was too and to play a really good team like Nashville was a good experience,” Bear said. “I just need to keep my feet moving a little bit more and keep moving the puck, but I felt pretty good.”

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Bear finished the game with a -3 rating but McLellan was impressed by the rookie’s play.

LISTEN: Ethan Bear on 630 CHED

“I thought he looked confident, he moved pucks well, he zipped pucks up,” McLellan said. “The game sheet is not going to give you a true story when it comes to his game. It shows -3, but he was a victim of circumstance.”

“I felt better and better about putting him on the ice as the game went on. It’s a good start for him.”

The Oilers (27-33-4) will host the New York Rangers on Saturday.

With the win for the Predators, GM David Poile became the winningest GM of all time. He hit 1,320 wins for his career to pass former Oilers GM Glen Sather. Poile lived in Edmonton as a youngster when his dad Bud Poile was coach and GM of the Flyers in the Western League.

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“This was my introduction to hockey here in Edmonton, and Glen Sather was the long time manager here of the Oilers and that’s the record I went ahead of here tonight and Glen is one of my best friends, almost a mentor to me,” said Poile. “I learned so much from Glen so there’s a those good memories.”

Prior to becoming the GM of the Predators, Poile served as the GM of the Washington Capitals for 15 seasons.

-With files from Brenden Ullrich and Scott Johnston