Highly questionable calls- but most importantly, allowing three unanswered Oilers goals- led to a 3-2 Predators loss in Edmonton tonight, dropping a crucial two points in a mad dash for the playoffs.
They had it. They were up 2-0 and were playing a pretty even game with the Oilers. Then, the Preds let a few weak calls against them decide the last half of the game.
On a few fronts, however, the Preds severely under-performed. The Preds went 0 for 3 on the power play while allowing Edmonton to go 2 for 4, and they won only 37 percent of tonight's face-offs.
Juuse Saros was crafting another excellent start; he had stopped 22 Edmonton shots before Alex Chiasson (but really, Kyle Turris) put the Oilers on the board. At the end of the night, Saros had still made 33 saves on 36 shots, which gave him a not-too-shabby .917 save percentage.
The Preds, with 14, actually recorded more high-danger chances than the Oilers, who had 11. Not only that, but the Preds also led the game's Corsi ratings- recording about a five percent advantage over Edmonton, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. These metrics show that, contrary to the usual pattern, the Preds actually played an incredibly solid game tonight. Show even a little weakness against the Oilers, though, and Draisaitl/McDavid are bound to infiltrate.
Okay, we can talk about them. The second period holding call against Dante Fabbro as well as the third period tripping call on Mikael Granlund sparked a firestorm of debate regarding their validity. Fabbro's hold on Kailer Yamamoto should have been called in the reverse: Yamamoto on Fabbro. Granlund's soft trip on a 200-lb. Leon Draisaitl was weak reasoning, at best, considering Granlund had just been called for embellishing on a hold by Connor McDavid.
This one bites, but the Preds can rest a little easier knowing it probably wasn't entirely their fault. That being said, it wasn't an ideal night to come up pointless; Winnipeg won today, reclaiming a two-point lead over the Preds in the Central. Colorado and Dallas both won tonight as well, widening the gap even further between them and Nashville.
The Preds will wrap up their Western Canada road trip on Monday, when they head to Vancouver to play the Canucks. The Canucks are currently sitting first in the Pacific Division, but are now only a point ahead of Edmonton, thanks to the Oilers' win tonight. The Preds are 0-2 against Vancouver this season. On several different levels, it goes without saying that the Preds need to not go 0-3 on the season series.