Resilient Oilers bag a point

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- Somewhere in Nerd Heaven a whole lot of geeks are double-checking their slide rules and rubbing agitated fingers through greasy hair.

Every piece of statistical evidence, every trend in the book, pointed to Edmonton shuffling out of here empty-handed.

The Preds were 11-5-1 since the All-Star Break. They were 10-1 against Edmonton in their last 11 meetings. The Oilers haven't won here since 2005-06. Nashville is 17-2 when leading after 40.

Nashville beat Detroit 8-0, Edmonton lost to Detroit 8-3.

It should have been ugly.

Instead, it was crazy.

"Some of the games in here are just wild," said head coach Craig MacTavish, whose club climbed off the canvas three times when it it looked like the Predators had put them away for good to steal a much-needed OTL point.

"We had a hard time defending, which might be a bit of an understatement, but we got a pretty good effort out of a lot of guys."

There were five lead changes in a see-saw battle that wasn't over until Jason Arnott's power play goal in overtime, where there's no coming back, made it 6-5 Nashville.

All in all, the Oilers are OK with the single.

"It's disappointing to lose it in overtime, but we battled hard and we got a point," said defenceman Steve Staios. "The effort was definitely there for us. We stayed with it and showed a lot of resiliency to stay in this game."

They were harder to kill than garlic breath in a wild episode of last shot wins.

This one was nuts, with neither side able to put the other one away and neither side willing to give up. It was 1-0 Nashville, 2-1 Edmonton, 3-2 Nashville, 4-3 Edmonton, 5-4 Nashville and 5-5 after 60 minutes.

"When guys step up and have character games like that it obviously bodes well for us moving forward," said Sam Gagner, who had a goal and two assists. "It's a good bonding game for us even though we didn't come out with the win."

The Preds scored first (David Legwand), then Edmonton scored two (Gagner and Marc Pouliot five minutes apart), then the Preds got two (Legwand on the power play late in the first and Ryan Suter's goal in the second, where the Preds outshot Edmonton 16-4).

But Edmonton fought back. They scored two early in the third (Andrew Cogliano and J.F. Jacques) to take the lead. Then Nashville fought back, scoring two of their own from Steve Sullivan.

Then Erik Cole made it 5-5 at 13:52 and Arnott scored the decisive winner in OT.

"It was a tough game; give Nashville credit, they've been playign well," said Sheldon Souray. "We stuck with it, showed some guts. They got a lucky bounce on a power play in OT, things like that happen. We can play better, but as far as the effort goes we battled hard.

MacTavish took the second line of Gagner, Pouliot and Cole aside after the morning skate for a discussion, and by game's end all three had scored.

"We needed some scoring out of them, but I didn't think we'd get three tonight," said the coach. "That's a great sign that that line can do that."

Gagner, who had one assist in his previous eight games, had a goal and an assist in the first period.

"We need to step up every night and provide suipport for the first line," said Gagner. "We need to step up and be consistent."


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