Edmonton gets surprise win

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- A team with one win in its last eight games on the road against a team with one loss in its last nine?

Edmonton's chances in Nashville were supposed to be slimmer than Hank Sr.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Foregone Conclusion Night. A day after snapping their seven-game losing streak in Dallas, the Oilers turned in another shocker by whipping the second-best team in the NHL, 5-1.

"The atmosphere, the way we battled for every puck, was unbelievable,'' said netminder Jussi Markkanen, who can't believe what a difference 48 hours makes. "There's a big change in here. We still have a lot of work to do, but this is good. You just have to trust your game and trust that in the long run, if you do the little things right, all the bad luck is going to even up. We've got it back over these last two nights.''

Ales Hemsky, fresh off a morning film session with MacTavish, led the way with a spring in his step that netted him a goal and three assists for the 5-6-1 Oilers.

FINALLY GOT A GOAL

"I felt good. It was back-to-back games but I felt good,'' said Hemsky. "I finally got a goal but it doesn't matter... this win was huge for us, probably the best game we've played all year. Great PK, Jussi played great. It's good for the confidence.''

Most of Edmonton's big guns had a say in the result. Ryan Smyth had a goal and an assist, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Jarret Stoll scored, Raffi Torres, Shawn Horcoff and Chris Pronger had assists and Markkanen was the better goalie for the second night in a row. Radek Dvorak didn't make the scoresheet, but gave the Preds fits all night long, hitting the post on one penalty kill and getting a breakaway on another.

"The team is getting healthy again,'' said head coach Craig MacTavish, who'd been without two-thirds of his first line for much of the losing streak. "The first line is back and playing well. Instead of looking for combinations, you're back having four pretty good lines. It's all about confidence.''

Nashville scored first, on a power play just 3:15 into the first period, but the Oilers wouldn't go away. Smyth tied it with his second in two games, Bergeron stepped out of the penalty box, took a home-run pass from Cory Cross and made it 2-1 early in the second. Bergeron's four goals are as many as the other six defencemen combined.

STEPPING UP HIS GAME

"I wanted to step up my game,'' said Bergeron. "The team needed some wins and I wanted to be part of the guys who were stepping up. And lately I think I am stepping my play up.''

Hemsky made it 3-1 after 40 minutes with his first of the season, a shot from the hash marks that he really didn't get good wood on.

Stoll's powerplay marker at 11:42 of the third put it away for good and Steve Staios capped a three-for-six power-play night with his first of the year.

Suddenly the Oilers are on a two-game roll and one game under .500.

"If we were a little luckier, we'd have three wins on this trip,'' said Bergeron. "But we kind of (pooped) our pants in Colorado.''

LATE HITS: The game started with a bad omen for Nashville when their mascot Gnash, who was supposed to be lowered from the rafters to ice level, got hung up in his cable and was suspended 50 feet above the ice for about 10 minutes, delaying the start of the game ... Oiler goalie Ty Conklin made 36 saves against Rochester last night, but the Hamilton Bulldogs lost 4-0.


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