Draisaitl the difference in Oilers win over Predators

Leon Draisaitl scored two of the Edmonton Oilers’ three unanswered goals, both in the third period, to beat the visiting Nashville Predators 3-2 on Saturday.

Well … the Oilers really only scored two. Up 2-0, the Predators logged their second own-goal in two weeks to help Edmonton get on the board in the second period.

On Jan. 29, against the Washington Capitals, Nick Bonino tried clearing the puck up the middle, but he took too sharp an angle, and the puck redirected off Juuse Saros’ stick and in. On Saturday, Preds center Kyle Turris stood innocently in front of his goalie. Saros saved a shot from the Oilers’ Connor McDavid, but the rebound bounced off Turris’s skate and went into the net to put the Oilers on the scoreboard.

It seemed deflating to the Nashville crew after the Predators dominated the first period. Defenseman Roman Josi took a sweet pass back from Ryan Johansen midway through the first and fired it toward the net. Craig Smith scooped up the rebound and shoveled it past Oilers goalie Mike Smith, who was playing his 600th career NHL game.

Early in the second, Dan Hamhuis wired the puck from the point. Bonino knocked it down in the slot and redirected it past the Oilers’ goaltender for a 2-0 Predators lead.

The own-goal, however, came on an Oilers power play with just eight seconds left in the second. Winger Alex Chiasson was credited with Edmonton’s first marker.

Draisaitl got to work in the third period. He scored his 30th of the season, taking a lead pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the neutral zone and then wiring a shot over Saros’ glove, at the 3:42 mark.

Then, on a 4-on-3 power play midway through the final period, Draisaitl completed a slick passing play with a one-time, top-shelf shot off another feed from Nugent-Hopkins. The goal, at 13:02, stood as the game-winner despite a late Predators push with Saros pulled.

The Oilers’ victory stopped the Predators’ two-game win streak through the Western Canadian provinces. The Predators wrap up their road trip Monday at Vancouver.

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