EDMONTON, ALBERTA (TICKER) —After nearly 239 shaky minutes on the road, the Nashville Predators finally had a reason to smile.
Vladimir Orszagh scored the equalizer with 62 seconds left in regulation and defenseman Andy Delmore netted the game-winner in overtime as the Predators defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, to close a four-game road trip.
Nashville went 0-2-1 in the first three games on the trip, managing only a tie against the lowly Calgary Flames, and seemed on its way to another defeat before Orszagh got them a point against one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
“We wanted to salvage something out of this road trip,” former Oiler Rem Murray said. “We only had one point in the first three games and it looked a little bleak coming into the third, but we were able to gut it out and get a win.”
With goaltender Tomas Vokoun pulled for an extra attacker, Orszagh tied it by skating around the net and putting a backhander from the bottom of the left faceoff circle through the pads of a shaky Jussi Markkanen.
“David (Legwand) made a great play to get past a couple of guys and he just tipped it to me on the side, and I carried it in front and just wanted to get the puck to the net,” Orszagh said.
“That’s usually the way you score in the last minute, on a rebound or something, but this time it found a hole and went in.”
It was the 10th goal of the season for Orszagh, whose team held a 26-24 advantage in shots but had fewer quality chances.
“They probably outplayed us for 59 minutes, but a hockey game is 60 minutes and we scored a lucky goal to tie it, and then we pulled it out in overtime,” Orszagh said.
Delmore won it with 85 seconds left in overtime, netting his 15th goal - tops among NHL defensemen - by beating Markkanen with a low slap shot from the point. Five of his goals have been game-winners, including two in overtime.
The goal helped the Predators remain even with Calgary in the battle to avoid last place in the West. Nashville was coming off Thursday night’s 2-2 tie with the Flames.
“Pretty much the only way we’re going to have success is to outwork teams, grind down low and hopefully get a few bounces,” Murray said.
The Oilers scored twice in a 6:35 span of the second period to take the lead but lost for the second time in eight games (5-1-1-1). They began the night tied for fifth in the West.
“It’s disappointing,” center Todd Marchant said. “I’m not going to lie to you.”
The Oilers finished a 2-2-0 homestand. They have five games remaining before the All-Star break, including meetings with Western Conference powers Detroit and Vancouver.
“It’s not good to lose at home, especially where we are at this point in the season,” Marchant said. “We’ve got five games ‘til the All-Star break and we’ve got to make sure we don’t let any points that we’ve earned slip away.”
Legwand opened the scoring 12:39 into the first period with his 11th goal.