EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—The Edmonton Oilers are starting to resemble the injury-plagued team of late last season, when they lost 18 of their last 20 games.
Jason Arnott scored the game-winning goal with 8 minutes remaining in the third period Friday and the Nashville Predators won on the road for the second straight night, 4-1 over the Oilers, who lost another defenseman to an injury.
Injuries played a large part in last season’s collapse with four defenders among the parade of injured, and they are starting to pile up again.
Defenseman Mathieu Roy went hard into the boards on what looked to be a clean check by Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo 3 minutes into the game. Roy, who was taken from the ice on a stretcher following a concussion-causing hit in the preseason against Vancouver, was down for a long stretch. There was another stretcher standing by but Roy was able to leave the ice on his own. He did not return and was diagnosed with a shoulder injury.
“Toots hits like a rock,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “It was a hard hit. It was clean, it just overpowered him. I think it was more of the impact from bouncing off the board than the hit itself.”
“Now we are getting into a situation we are familiar with,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. “We have gone from nine defensemen down to five. We’ll have to see what our options are.”
“It’s tough but we have to overcome this,” Oilers forward Raffi Torres said. “We have lost some key guys and some of us older guys in the room are going to have to step it up. We have to start doing it on the ice, not just talking about it.”
The Predators, who got their first road victory of the season on Thursday in Vancouver, were playing their third game in four nights. Nashville has won four of five overall.
It was the second straight home loss for the Oilers (5-9-0).
Nashville (6-7-0) utilized some strong passing to strike first, 2 1/2 minutes into the second. Martin Erat made a cross-ice pass to Ville Koistenen and he quickly fed it to Legwand at the side of the net for the easy tap-in.
The Oilers scored 10 minutes later as Shawn Horcoff sprung Hemsky down the right wing, and his wrist shot high to the stick side surprised Ellis.
But the Predators grabbed the lead for good on Arnott’s fifth goal of the season.
Nashville got insurance goals from Bonk and Fiddler, the latter into an empty net.
Nashville owned Edmonton last season, winning all four games by an aggregate of 16-8. … Torres suited up in his 200th consecutive game. … Friday’s game was the 80th consecutive sellout crowd of 16,839 at Rexall Place, dating to Nov. 29, 2005. … Newly recalled forward Robert Nilsson skated on a line with Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll for the Oilers. Nilsson, acquired from the New York Islanders for Ryan Smyth, was sent to Springfield of the AHL after playing the first five games in Edmonton.