NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Predators are the NHL’s hottest team right now, and they just keep finding ways to win.
Jason Arnott scored a power-play goal at 2:31 in overtime, and the Predators beat Edmonton 6-5 Tuesday night for their season-high fifth straight win – the longest current streak in the league. Nashville has moved from 14th in the Western Conference at the start of February into eighth place with this latest victory.
“Guys have stayed with it and stayed persistent, which we talk about,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
“Just stay persistent every night, and good things can happen. You go up the ladder. As we said to the guys, you have to go up the ladder one rung at a time, and Edmonton was the one we had to get to. In getting the two points and them getting one, we’re right with them now.”
The Predators are tied with Edmonton and Anaheim, a 3-2 overtime loser to Chicago, with 68 points apiece.
“This is an exciting time to play hockey,” Predators forward David Legwand said. “End of the season being in the mix. The teams that are out of it probably aren’t having as much fun as we are.”
This was a wild game with four lead changes and five ties.
“At least we got a point out of it,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.
Edmonton lost for the second time in three games in the first game without captain Ethan Moreau (injured right eye). Erik Cole scored with 6:08 remaining in regulation to tie it at 5 after Andrew Cogliano and Jean-Jacques Francois scored within the first 5:15 of the period to put the Oilers up 4-3.
Steve Sullivan scored twice 70 seconds apart in the third period to put Nashville up 5-4, and he also had an assist. David Legwand scored two goals in the first period, and Ryan Suter added a power-play goal. Arnott also had two assists.
Sam Gagner had a goal and two assists. Marc-Antoine Pouliot also had a goal for the Oilers.
Nashville outshot Edmonton 43-28 and took all three shots in overtime. The Predators got the man advantage when Jason Strudwick was called for high-sticking J.P. Dumont in the corner, and they frantically kept trying to get the puck past goalie Dwayne Roloson.
Roloson appeared hurt and didn’t have his stick when the puck bounced out to Arnott in the right circle, and he won the game with a slap shot. Arnott said he hurt Roloson on his previous shot because the goalie went down.
“He was just scrambling all over the place, and I just tried to get it on net. I knew (defenceman Sheldon) Souray was coming out to block it, so I had to get it by him. That’s a big body. I missed a few open-netters tonight so it was nice to get that one,” Arnott said.
Roloson wasn’t available after the game. Oilers right wing Dustin Penner said Roloson was hit in the head and tried to play through it.
“But it was a really good shot by Arnott. … It’s a tough one to lose, but at this point we can’t really look back,” Penner said.
Nashville won the season series 3-1 and has won 11 of 12 games between the teams.
The Predators came in having scored 17 goals in its past three games. Legwand kept up the scoring with both of his goals in the first period.
Edmonton went up 2-1 as Gagner’s backhander from in front beat Pekka Rinne midway in the first period, then Gagner found Pouliot in the right circle from behind the net. But Legwand tied it late in the session with a wrister from the edge of the crease.
Suter put Nashville up 3-2 just 15 seconds into the game’s first power play in the second period. His slap shot squeezed between Roloson’s stick and the right post for the defenceman’s fifth goal.
Rinne, the NHL’s rookie of the month for February, struggled in the third period as he gave up three goals, the last coming as Cole skated around the net and then bounced a backhander over Rinne’s pad.
“I almost gave it away with a soft goal at the end,” Rinne said
Notes: Predators forward Martin Erat missed a second straight game with a strained groin. … Rinne now is 12-0-1 when he gets three or more goals from the Predators. … Nashville has gone to overtime in five of its last 10 games and is 4-1 in the extra period. … The Predators won their ninth overtime game, tying a franchise record.