EDMONTON — The Nashville Predators made a point of supporting one another on Saturday afternoon, which led to two points on the road.
O’Reilly had a hat trick and one assist as the Predators snapped a two-game losing skid, defeating the hapless Edmonton Oilers 5-2. It was the fifth career hat trick for O’Reilly, who signed with Nashville as a free agent this past summer after a stint with Toronto.
“We were playing against that (Connor) McDavid line and such, it’s always tough,” he said. “But we were connected, we were doing the right things and just kind of moving our feet with the puck.
"And I thought we did a great job of supporting each other. I think when you do that, you get chances.”
Filip Forsberg added a goal and three assists and Thomas Novak also scored for the Predators (5-6-0). Kevin Lankinen made 33 saves.
Forsberg said O’Reilly has been a dynamic addition to the Predators.
“He’s probably the smartest player that I’ve played with in this league, maybe,” he said. “He just knows where to go, he’s so good with his stick detail.
"You see all three, even the fourth goal that he ended up scoring, he’s just around the net finding loose pucks. It’s pretty simple for me, I just try to get it to him.”
Darnell Nurse and Zach Hyman scored in response for the Oilers (2-7-1), who have lost six of their last seven. Jack Campbell stopped 29-of-34 shots.
“I thought we had a good start and then the mental mistakes that keep costing us over and over again made us chase the game and it is hard to chase games in this league,” McDavid said.
“It is just death by a thousand cuts, that is what it feels like. One mistake and it costs us and another little mistake and it just snowballs.”
Edmonton has yet to record a win at Rogers Place this season.
“We know how good we can be, and we know what is causing us to be in this spot,” Hyman said. “There is no magic pill. We just have to go out there and fix it.
"That is the frustrating part is that we have yet to fix those errors that continue to come up in our game. We have the recipe. We know what to do. We just have to go out there and do it.”
Nurse opened the scoring with a point shot 9:57 into the first period on the power play.
The celebrations were short-lived, however, as Nashville responded just 25 seconds later. A hard-charging Forsberg knotted the score on a wraparound.
Predators defenceman Marc Del Gaizo picked up an assist on the play in his NHL debut.
O’Reilly put Nashville ahead just 23 seconds into the second period, scoring on a rebound from a Forsberg shot that went off Campbell’s toe.
The pair padded their totals on the power play three minutes later. Forsberg made a pretty pass through the top of the crease to a wide-open O’Reilly for his second of the game.
Hyman got a goal back on a power play 5:08 into the middle frame, with an Evan Bouchard one-timer ticking off his skate and in.
Novak restored the Predators' two-goal edge at 15:15 of the second. He beat Campbell high to the stick side on a partial breakaway for his sixth goal of the campaign.
O’Reilly effectively scored twice on the same shift 8:22 into the third period. He put the puck in on a chip shot from the slot to complete his hat trick.
However, a review determined that a shot by O’Reilly in a scramble earlier in the shift had actually completely crossed the line before being swept out.
“Not really, it was kind of funny,” he said when asked if he had ever had a two-goal shift before. “I knew I got a piece of it at the net, but I didn’t hear anything, so I thought, ‘It must not have,’ and everyone kept going. But you obviously get another chance, it goes in.”
In his previous 12 games against Nashville, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl had recorded 22 goals and 34 points. However, he was held off the scoresheet Saturday. Draisaitl has now gone seven games without a goal, while McDavid has gone five games since scoring.
Oilers forward Raphael Lavoie skated in his first game in the big leagues. With Lavoie coming up from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League, defenceman Philip Broberg was reassigned to the Condors.
The Oilers were without Connor Brown (lower body) and Mattias Janmark (shoulder).
The Predators were missing Luke Schenn (lower body), Ryan McDonagh (undisclosed) and Cody Glass (lower body).
Oilers: Begin a three-game road trip in Vancouver against the Canucks on Monday.
Predators: Play the fourth of a five-game trip in Calgary on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press