Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky (83), of Czech Republic, shoots past Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher (12) in the first period of an NHL hockey game on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mike Strasinger)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Edmonton's Ales Hemsky celebrated his 550th NHL game in a big way, scoring three times for his first hat trick.
Hemsky scored once in the first period and twice in the second as the Oilers beat the Nashville Predators 6-3 on Tuesday night. He added an assist on the final goal of the game.
"The last time I had a hat trick was as a junior player," Hemsky said. "It was a different type of hockey."
His third goal was on a breakaway against Anders Lindback at 14:03 of the second.
"I was a little nervous on that third goal," Hemsky said. "I kind of panicked a little bit but I got lucky.
"That's hockey. You just have to stay with it and hope for the best. This game everything was going for me so I was happy about it."
Hemsky, with nine goals and 25 assists this season, is known more for his passing than his shooting.
Oilers coach Tom Renney was surprised that Hemsky had never scored three goals in an NHL game.
"I can't believe that," Renney said. "That is amazing. I hope he has many more. He is more of a passer, there are no two ways about that. He is as unselfish a guy as we have."
The Oilers managed only 20 shots. Hemsky, who led with four, added an assist on Sam Gagner's goal.
"He was on his toes," Renney said. "He was really skating. He was proactive with and without the puck. Good things usually follow players like that around."
Hemsky's accomplishment overshadowed Devan Dubnyk's outstanding performance in goal. He stopped 41 of 44 shots including 18 of 19 in the third period.
"Devan was outstanding," Renney said. "We had a problem with puck management, and Devan was there and square. He became even more competitive as the game went on. That is what we need from our goaltending.
"You could tell by the way Nashville pumped shots on goal in the third period that we had to have good goaltending, certainly beyond what we had done prior to that."
Darcy Hordichuk opened the scoring for Edmonton with his first goal of the season at 12:50 of the first period. Ryan Jones added a power-play goal at 5:51 of the second. Gagner closed out the scoring for Edmonton with an empty-net goal with 1:41 remaining.
The Oilers chased goalie Pekka Rinne from the game 28 seconds into the second period, after Hemsky's second goal. Rinne allowed three goals on seven shots.
Lindback stopped 10 of 12 shots, including all five he faced in the third.
David Legwand scored two goals for the Predators, for his fourth multiple-goal game of the season. He broke the shutout with seven seconds to go in the first period and struck again at 4:18 of the third.
Patric Hornqvist, who leads the Predators with 24 goal, scored on the power play at 12:35 of the second.
Predators coach Barry Trotz refused to blame the loss on distractions caused by the anticipated arrival of Alexander Radulov from Russia. Radulov is expected to practice with the team on Wednesday and make his season debut with Nashville at Pittsburgh on Thursday.
The loss marked the second time this season the Predators have given up six goals to Edmonton in a loss.
"I think we didn't lose focus," Trotz said. "Our guys understood the situation and they played hard.
"I didn't have a problem with the effort or anything. We played hard, but it wasn't our game in a lot of ways. It was just one of those things where we couldn't get a bounce or a save, and that's going to happen sometimes."
NOTES: Hordichuk hadn't scored a goal since Nov. 6, 2010 at Carolina. ... Nashville's Gabriel Bourque assisted on Legwand's goal, giving him two assists in his last two games. ... Nashville's power play has scored six goals in six games. ... Martin Erat has a five-game point streak for Nashville with two goals and six assists. ... Jeff Petry had two assists for Edmonton.