Draisaitl, Caggiula help Oilers end a 13-game skid Predators


Edmonton Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl celebrates scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

NASHVILLE — It’s been a long time since Edmonton beat Nashville — so long that the streak is meaningless to many of the Oilers.

Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula each scored twice, and the Oilers ended a 13-game losing streak against the Predators with a 5-3 victory Saturday.

"I know that the media and everybody else likes to string together streaks and that type of stuff, but when this streak started a lot of these players weren’t even here," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "Connor (McDavid) was probably still playing juniors. From an organizational standpoint it’s important, but for the guys that have been here two or three years it is a big win."

McDavid also scored and Mika Koskinen made 24 saves in his first start of the season and first for the Oilers. Edmonton was 0-11-2 in its previous 13 games against the Predators.

Filip Forsberg had a hat trick for Nashville, and Juuse Saros stopped 30 shots.

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The Oilers are 5-1-1 in their last seven games, with their most recent wins coming against the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner (Nashville) and the defending Stanley Cup champion (Washington).

"We’ve been playing some pretty tough teams as of late," Caggiula said. "We’ve got a tough schedule with some travel and some road games, and I think we’re just playing confidently. We believe in one another."

Forsberg added to his franchise record with his sixth career hat trick. The Predators are 5-0-0 on the road, but only 3-3-0 at home.

"Filip, in the last two games, probably has close to 25 attempts at the net and when he puts the puck at the net like that it’s going to go in the back of the net," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "You’ve got to credit his two linemates, too. Ryan (Johansen) is making some terrific plays and (Viktor Arvidsson) is the motor that makes it go."

Forsberg’s first goal cut the deficit to 2-1 on a power play with just over a minute left in the second period. The Swedish winger added two more in the third period, including another power-play goal that narrowed the deficit to 4-3 with 4:06 remaining.

Edmonton struck first when Caggiula batted home a rebound at 11:41 of the first period. The Oilers made it 2-0 when Draisaitl scored a tic-tac-toe goal on passes from Milan Lucic and McDavid on a power play at 4:14 of the second.

"I really liked our start," McLellan said. "We haven’t got that in a long time in this building. Usually, we’re chasing the game. Our goaltender played extremely well."

Nashville prevented the Oilers from adding to the lead by killing a 4-minute penalty when Johansen was called for high-sticking.

Seven seconds after Forsberg’s first goal, McDavid broke loose on a breakaway off the faceoff for his team-best seventh goal to make it 3-1.

"For me, that third goal was a tough goal," Laviolette said. "We had been pushing to try and get on the board and try to close the deficit, and when we were able to do that to give one up right away that was a tough goal, especially right at the end of the period. You go into the locker room and it kind of steals the energy out of the building."

Koskinen made 24 saves. The 6-foot-7 Finn played the previous six seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.

"It’s a good feeling," Koskinen said. "Everybody wants to play. But at the same time it was good for me to practice a little bit longer and prepare for this game."

Saros, filling in for injured Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne, had recorded shutouts in his previous two starts against the Oilers, stopping all 77 shots.

Draisaitl scored his second goal at 4:19 of the third. Caggiula capped the scoring with an empty-netter.

Nashville has lost two of three.

"It’s always frustrating when you lose," Forsberg said. "I think we’re playing solid enough hockey to win, but at the same time we’re taking too many penalties. It gets people off their rhythm by being on the penalty kill."

NOTES: Edmonton D Matt Benning (upper body) and RW Zack Kassian (neck) returned to the lineup after missing games. … Nashville got outshot 22-8 in the first 30 minutes. … The Predators will play their third and final game against the Oilers in Nashville on Feb. 25.


Oilers: At Chicago on Sunday night.

Predators: Host Vegas on Tuesday night.


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