Oilers off-key in Music City

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- They write songs about games like these.

Heck, Nashville was founded on tear-jerkers like the one Edmonton penned last night in Music City.

After fighting back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, in the second toughest building in the NHL, the Oilers were just 1:55 away from overtime, and possibly a shootout, when J.P. Dumont stepped out of the corner and banked a weak backhand off Joni Pitkanen's skate.

Game over. Not even an OTL point to help drown their sorrows.

In other news, the dog died and the train jumped the track.

"We deserved at least a point tonight," Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon sighed after the 5-4 loss. "We never quit. We were down 3-1 and came back. It's tough to lose with less than two minutes left."

It's not the first time they've turned in a decent effort, but it's getting close to the last time it's going to matter in terms of the playoff race.

"It's happened too many times, we've battled back, guys stepped up again, but obviously the results weren't there," said Sam Gagner, who had a goal and an assist in the loss.

"At this point in the season it's all about results. We realize how important every game is right now. We can't be losing games like this anymore."

They all understand that it's way too late to be feeling good about the way they played in defeat.

"We were battling to the end and it's nice to see that," said Garon. "But if we don't get points, it's tough. It's not enough, we need points. It's good to know that we're playing good, but I guess it's not playing good enough to win. We're playing for the wins and they're not coming."

The Predators have the best record in the NHL since Jan. 1 and they looked every inch of it early on, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Scott Nichol and Alexander Radulov before Fernando Pisani cut the lead to 2-1 just before the first intermission.

The Preds padded the lead to 3-1 in the second (Jordin Tootoo at 5:58), and it looked like the Oilers were done. But three goals in two minutes and 18 seconds turned the contest upside down.

Denis Grebeshkov made it 3-2 at 13:05. Gagner tied the score at 15:00, then Marty Reasoner made it 4-3 at 15:23.

The place was in shock. But before the Oilers even had time to admire their work, Jason Arnott made it 4-4 just 23 seconds later.

The third period was anybody's game, and Dumont won it with the bank shot.

"It's a tough loss to work that hard and get nothing for it," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"But at the end of the day we made too many mistakes. We put ourselves in position in the last two games on the road, being even going into the third period, and I thought we had the better quality chances. But that's hockey, that's the way it goes. It's so close that a break one way or the other is going to decide the game.

"We needed to be more responsible with the puck to ensure that a break like that couldn't beat us."

Now the Oilers wait for two days in Dallas before playing the Stars on Friday night. By then, the deficit could be as high as 11.

"It's not an ideal situation for us to be in," said Pisani. "But it is what it is ... and we have to deal with it."

LATE HITS: The World's Longest Hockey Game at Saiker's Aikers made the Plays of the Week on ESPN in the U.S. They were showing clips of it in Nashville ... Gagner's two points extended his scoring streak to seven games (2-8-10).


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