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Predators down Oilers 5-3 as Edmonton drops fifth straight

The Canadian Press
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Edmonton Oilers\' Ryan Potulny, right, falls into Nashville Predators\' Cal O\'Reilly during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Ulan Author: The Hockey News

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Predators down Oilers 5-3 as Edmonton drops fifth straight

The Canadian Press
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EDMONTON - It's apparently going to take more than a mini-camp to fix the Edmonton Oilers.

Ryan Jones had a goal and two assists as the Nashville Predators won their second game in as many nights, beating the struggling Oilers 5-3 on Tuesday.

J.F. Jacques, Ryan Potulny and Dustin Penner had the goals for the Oilers (16-24-5) losers of five straight and 12 of their last 13.

The latest loss for the Oilers came in their first game back from conducting a four-day mini-camp, held in place of a previously planned golf trip to Palm Springs.

But it was more of the same for Edmonton, now sitting just two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for last place in the NHL.

"It's still about turnovers for us," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. "Good hockey teams don't double-cross themselves. We had a good start again like we have had in a good number of games. But that was a cookie-cutter of a lot of our games that at the end of the night you should have a different result and you don't because you beat yourself.

"As much as we've talked about it and had mini-camps, our positional game lets us down."

Edmonton assistant captain Sheldon Souray didn't see that many changes than other recent efforts.

"It was a lot of the same," he said. "There were a lot of turnovers. It's definitely deflating."

Shea Weber, Marcel Goc, Patric Hornqvist and J.P. Dumont also scored for the Predators (28-16-3), who have won six of their last eight and two in a row to start a three-game Western Canadian trip.

"We were struggling a little bit at home of late," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "Sometimes getting on the road can be good for your hockey team and you can get things in order. I thought we did a really good job of getting on top of them quickly. Their confidence is shaken a little bit and that really helped."

Jones said every point is important in the Western Confidence right now.

"It's crazy," he said. "It seems like every time you win, everybody else wins. You have to gain ground any chance that you can. Last year I think 92 points was the cutoff for making the playoffs. This year it looks like it could be 100 points."

It didn't take Nashville long to stake itself to a 2-0 lead with goals just 28 seconds apart five minutes into the game.

After Edmonton netminder Jeff Deslauriers made a big stop in tight, the puck came back to Weber at the point and he blasted a shot glove-side for his ninth of the year. Goc then fished a puck away from Tom Gilbert in front and beat Deslauriers with a quick backhand to make it 2-0.

Edmonton had a good chance to cut into the lead with five minutes remaining in the first when Ryan Stone had Pekka Rinne beat, but he slid what would have been his first NHL goal just wide.

Nashville made it 3-0 with less than a minute to play in the period. A Jones shot went wide but was picked up behind the net and hooked in by Dumont as Deslauriers got tripped up in his own skates and couldn't get over.

The Predators went ahead 4-0 seven minutes into the second when Hornqvist took a feed from Goc from behind the net and beat Deslauriers for his 18th of the season. Devan Dubnyk replaced Deslauriers after the fourth Predators goal on 14 shots.

The Oilers finally ended Rinne's shutout bid on their 34th shot of the game, seven minutes into the third period as Jacques' wrist shot snuck through his pads to make it 4-1.

Potulny made it 4-2 with five minutes left on the game's first power play off a nice feed from Patrick O'Sullivan through the crease.

The Predators put the game away for good with three minutes to play on a power-play goal of their own from Jones.

Penner rounded out the scoring with another power-play goal with just 21 seconds left for the Oilers.

Edmonton closes out a four-game homestand on Thursday against Pittsburgh while the Predators, who beat Vancouver 3-2 on Monday night, finish a three-game trip in Calgary on Friday.

Notes... It was the third meeting between the two teams this season with each team winning a game in the other club's building. ... The Oilers were without forward Gilbert Brule (flu). ... Edmonton had defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky back in the lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury. ... Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. Forwards Jordin Tootoo (broken foot) and Jerred Smithson (broken hand) are on the injured reserve. ... Coming into the game, Nashville was 17-3-1 when scoring first, good for third in the NHL, and 27-5-3 when scoring more than one goal. ... The game's first penalty wasn't called until 13:02 of the third period.

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Predators down Oilers 5-3 as Edmonton drops fifth straight