It wasn’t the way the Nashville Predators wanted to win the game, but no one was complaining too loudly after a 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Tuesday night at the Sommet Center the Predators watched a 3-1 lead vanish as the Oilers scored three second period goals in less than 2 ½ minutes. That set the stage for center Jason Arnott to score the tying goal 23 seconds after the Oilers took the lead.
With 1:55 left in the game, right wing J.P. Dumont scored the game-winner with a backhand shot for the 5-4 decision. He also added a pair of assists. Center Scott Nichol scored a goal and added two assists as well. Also having multi-point games were Arnott with a goal and an assist, right wing Alexander Radulov with a goal and an assist and center Vernon Fiddler with two assists.
“That’s not the kind of hockey we want to play,” said Dumont, who also added two assists in his first game back after missing the last two while recovering from the flu. “But we’ll take the two points.
“We have a lot of stuff to clean up, especially the way we played away from the puck. That’s usually the best part of the game for us, playing good two-way hockey. We have to look forward and make sure we take care of that.”
The Predators are back at home Thursday night at 7 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Predators coach Barry Trotz credited the defensive lapses to a lack of practice time. He planned to stress defense in this morning’s session.
“I wasn’t happy in the second period,” said Predators coach Barry Trotz. “We didn’t defend very well. We were close to people, but we weren’t defending.
“We have played a lot of games and we haven’t practiced a whole lot. I think that is starting to show a little bit in some of our defensive habits if you will. We are going to try to correct that.”
Predators goaltender Dan Ellis weathered the three-goal barrage. The goal by Arnott to tie the game granted him some relief. He knew the only thing he could do was to not allow another goal.
“All I could do was to try to tighten it up,” Ellis said. “A couple of those goals were unfortunate scrambles where the puck popped out and went into the net.
“They had the momentum. As a goaltender you have to realize at that point you don’t want to give up anything else. You have to give your team a chance to win and stop everything from there on out no matter how many shots they take.”
Ellis stopped 32 of 36 shots for the game, including all 14 he faced in the third period.
“I took it a shot at a time,” Ellis said. “I was able to see the puck pretty well for the remainder of the game. Actually, I saw the puck pretty well for the entire game, but there was unfortunate timing with those three quick goals.
“Arnott tying the game so quickly was huge. Whenever you can respond right away to losing a lead, it just swings the momentum back in your favor. It lessens the blow of being down a goal.”
POWER PLAY ADJUSTMENT: In an effort to boost the power play Trotz decided to sit defenseman Greg Zanon and gave Ville Koistinen more playing time. Trotz paired Koistinen with Marek Zidlicky on the power play.
“It had nothing to do with Zanon’s play,” Trotz said. “I wanted to make the power play a little bit different. Edmonton has a lot of speed with the young kids they have. I thought there would be a few more calls and our power play would be more effective.”
TOOTOO IS BACK: Right wing Jordin Tootoo made a big splash in his second game back after missing 19 with a groin injury. He scored the Predators’ third goal of the game in the second period and also made a couple of big hits.
“It is great to contribute offensively,” Tootoo said. “The timing will come. We haven’t had a lot of practice. I’ve been working hard in pre-game skates. I feel pretty good out there. I think with a couple of more practices working on my timing I will be right back up there.”
Trotz talked with Tootoo after the game and told him he wants to see him open up his game a little bit more.
“I told him he played a safe game and now he has to extend himself a little bit,” Trotz said. “He got a big goal for us, but he has to bump it up.”