3:01pm: Darnel Nurse is returning to gametime action today. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Is it too early? Will he be able to meaningfully contribute or does he need more time? I have to say in all honesty that the odds of the Oilers winning today have just dropped a bit.
3:02pm: Oilers pun-master Gene Principe turns 50 years old today. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Should his hair still look like that? Will he be able to meaningfully contribute? I have to say in all honesty that the odds of the Oilers winning today have just increased a bit.
3:04pm: Rogers Hometown Hockey is coming from Nanaimo, B.C. where Rogers is showing us various images from the Land That Winter Forgot. Ron McLean just name-dropped Sylvan Lake. Good boy, Ron. Gene Principe brings up Oscar...Klefbom...to remind us about the 89th Academy Awards on tonight. Bad boy, Gene.
3:06pm: A little...girl...is at the rink as the anthem singer does the national anthems. I like watching games in the States because it means they don't try signing in Frog-Talk halfway through. This guy keeps sounding like he's getting the words wrong but isn't...he even did the "in all thy son's command" bit correctly.
3:09pm: They are doing a vignette of the Nashville Predators visiting cancer-ridden children in hospitals. They don't show Subban in a Montreal hospital, unsurprisingly.
3:10pm: This story about Michelle is heartbreaking, by the way. This week she hopes to find out the cancer in both of her lungs is getting smaller or whether she needs to book more prayer time.
1st period, 18:31: In one corner, the Edmonton Oilers (33-21-8 overall, 18-11-5 on the road). They are coming off a loss to Washington on Friday and have gone 5-5-0 in their last ten games.
1st period, 16:21: Draisaitl and McDavid with a nifty play at the net which almost works. Be ready to see a lot of that.
1st period, 15:45: In the other corner, the Nashville Predators (30-22-9 overall, 18-7-7 at home). They are coming off a win against Washington yesterday in what has to be one of the weirder bits of scheduling this season. They are 5-4-1 in their last ten games. In other words, these teams are well-matched.
1st period, 15:46: Too Many Men penalty coming up against Edmonton.
1st period, 15:05: Ellis scores on the PP. 1-0 for the bad guys.
1st period, 14:37: McDavid comes right back with a beautiful wrister from right in front of the net.
1st period, 14:15: The rink announcer is announcing the scoring for the Nashville goal. The crowd just isn't in it.
1st period, 14:03: Nuge gets a breakaway and fires at the net in closer range. Rinne is ready for it though. Because it's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
1st period, 13:50: The McDavid goal was his first one since Chicago over a week ago, and that was an empty-netter.
1st period, 13:17: Matt Hendricks tries a similar play to McDavid. But he's not McDavid, so Nashville was able to successfully defend against it.
1st period, 11:15: The Nuge-Lucic-Eberle line is outclassed (as so often happens) and they have difficulty keeping possession in that last play.
1st period, 10:53: Le Test Tube crashes into PK Subban. Both players appear unharmed.
1st period, 9:51: Hendricks knocks a Pred down pretty aggressively. A kid in the front row wants a penalty but he won't get one.
1st period, 8:59: With a little over half the period played, the Oilers are definitely out-chancing the Predators, and in most cases are able to keep up with Nashville's more physical style. Meanwhile, the Flames game is still on Sportsnet West and therefore I'm stuck watching commercials for the BC Liberal Party.
1st period, 8:51: Drew's little story is about how Connor McDavid and Darnel Nurse are able to get along...despite one being "from Hamilton" and another being "from the Toronto area". Uh, Hamilton is in the Toronto area. I've driven the Gardiner before. It's a 20 minute drive in no traffic.
1st period, 7:52: Eberle with a weak cross-ice pass to nobody. Now Nashville regains possession. Nice work, Jordan.
1st period, 7:20: The Calgary game is over and I can't change to Sportsnet West fast enough.
1st period, 6:19: James Neale with a rare Nashville shot on goal. Talbot is ready for it.
1st period, 5:49: Neale picks the puck away from Hendricks and almost scores on the resulting play.
1st period, 5:37: Kris Russel with a roughing penalty, and Nashville is about to get its second power play. In other words, be ready for the Oilers to give up another goal sometime in the next 5 minutes.
1st period, 5:26: Yep, there it is. Philip Forsberg rifles a shot from the dot in the right circle and beats Talbot glove side. 2-1 Predators.
1st period, 4:52: This time the crowd is excited to hear about their team scoring a goal. McDavid doesn't silence the crowd like he did the last time.
1st period, 4:09: Oh good, it's about to be 3-1 for Nashville. Lucic just got a 2-minute minor for tripping.
1st period, 3:24: The Oilers have successfully killed off 45 seconds of a Nashville power pay. New record!
1st period, 2:35: There's hope for these guys yet. McDavid sends it down ice and 1:30 of powerplay killed off.
1st period, 2:08: Oilers kill off the penalty! Wow!
1st period, 1:54: Oilers come close to giving up a goal anyways. Still 2-1 for Nashville.
1st period, 1:17: I thought McDavid had a clever new move he was debuting, but he poked the puck directly to Pekke Rinne and Nashville comes back up the ice.
1st period, 0:37: Fisher almost scores but Nurse is there. He's actually having a good game defensively.
1st period, 0:16: The trade deadline is coming on Wednesday. It'll be boring as watching moose shit dry, but broadcasters keep insisting GMs are "on their phones non-stop".
1st period, 0:00: If this whole game was 5-on-5, the Oilers would be holding onto the lead right now. Instead, they trail by one.
3:51pm: A nice wide shot of Nanaimo on Hometown Hockey. Green grass and no sign of ice on the water. That's just wrong, BC.
3:57pm: Ron McLean is chatting with Kirk McLean in a 'Nucks jersey about Devan Dubnyk, who he used to coach in juniors. Just as the segment gets interested, Tara Sloan interrupts to go back to Gene Principle and that Scotiabank commercial with the two asian kids.
2nd period, 18:38: Rinne misplays a routine puck sliding in his direction, and is forced to cover it up before he makes a bad situation worse.
2nd period, 17:48: Another wasted opportunity by the Nuge-Lucic-Ebs line, Nuge tries to pass to Lucic between two defenders and instead Nashville is able to come back up the other way.
2nd period, 16:28: Nugent-Hopkins has gone to the dressing room for an unknown reason.
2nd period, 15:51: Nashville has definitely found another gear, they are generally out-cycling an out-playing the Oilers.
2nd period, 15:36: And there they go again: a quick transition up the ice, they have more speed than the Oilers and come close to scoring. Talbot has to make a quick save.
2nd period, 15:39: An error on the clock, so 3 more seconds are added to game-time.
2nd period, 15:15: Caligula with a great poke move that forces Rinne far out of his net to run into Kassian, but the Oilers can't capitalize.
2nd period, 14:43: Subban with the first Nashville penalty, 2 minutes for interference on Eberle.
2nd period, 13:37: Appropriate for this time code, Klefbom with a l33t shot on net after a nifty board pass from McDavid.
2nd period, 13:02: Eberle, Maroon, and Caligula combine for a couple of nifty plays in front of the net. Still 2-1 Nashville.
2nd period, 12:31: 3-1 Nashville after a quick post-penalty-kill goal by Vernon Fiddler. It's only his second of the season. The Oilers are notorious for giving confidence-boosts to opposing players suffering from lengthy droughts.
2nd period, 11:19: "Goes cross-ice looking for Russel". The jokes just write themselves, sometimes.
2nd period, 10:25: The Oilers D-men are doing a good job cycling and getting a hold of the puck, giving McDavid and company a few good opportunities to capitalize. Unfortunately, they don't.
2nd period, 9:38: Fisher comes in at the net full force and fires a shot that Tablot gloves with relative ease.
2nd period, 9:31: The Oilers are showing a little more sign of life in the middle third of the second period, something they haven't really shown since the second Nashville goal. They need to keep their speed up and force Nashville to play more of their style. Win or lose, it's their best chance. Keep this a slow and physical game and the Preds will stomp them, especially if Nashville continues to skate at a faster place than the Oilers.
2nd period, 8:36: The Le Test Tube line had a good shift in the Nashville zone, except that numerous cases featured Caligula and Kassian being busy tied up with an opposing player when they should have been looking for the puck. In each case, the puck dribbles past instead of becoming a scoring opportunity.
2nd period, 7:24: Meanwhile the McDavid line does a few nifty moves but never is particularly threatening.
2nd period, 7:11: James Neale was just more scary than the last two minutes of Oilers possession in the opposing zone.
2nd period, 6:35: Now it's Nashville's turn to draw a Too Many Men penalty on an awkward change. An even more awkward joke about how the NHL used to be 9-on-9. There weren't 9 players on the ice, Drew.
2nd period, 5:48: Lucic scores a tip-in after McDavid does a lot of nifty moves and then fires the puck at the scrum of folks in front of the net. 3-2 for Nashville.
2nd period, 5:37: My spacebar is sticking, so apologies for any formatting weirdness between now and the conclusion of this liveblog.
2nd period, 5:23: That Shanks promotion sounds fun. April in San Jose sounds much nicer than April in Edmonton. I might just have to sign up.
2nd period, 4:39: Goal? No goal? The horn sounds but play is continuing. This is gonna be reviewed. There's also an upcoming Nashville penalty. I agree it's probably going to count.
2nd period, 4:24: Wilson's goal counts. 4-2 Nashville, and there will probably still be a penalty. Shouldn't the time change too?
2nd period, 4:39: It does. Time has been added back on the clock for the second time tonight.
2nd period, 3:51: Fisher is having a pretty good game too. Neale is scary as shit out there today. Why can't Oilers secondary scorers ever be scary like this?
2nd period, 3:35: Le Test Tube scores with a bullet from the top of the circle. 4-3 Nashville. Smith is back out of the penalty box after a post-"goal" tripping call that the American fans are very very confused by.
2nd period, 3:14: The aforementioned James Neale is going to the box for a Holding the Stick penalty. The frustration of Nashville for barely keeping ahead of a team they spent so much time out-classing today is starting to show.
2nd period, 3:00: McDavid with a nifty play almost gets Lucic a goal.
2nd period, 2:19: Draisaitl tries a move back to Klefbom from behind the goal line which fails and dribbles back the ice.
2nd period, 1:55: Nuge makes almost the exact same move.
2nd period, 1:45: Now Ebs and Nuge miscommunicate and cross the blue line in the wrong order, drawing an offside.
2nd period, 1:13: Fisher wins the draw in his own and the penalty is over.
2nd period, 1:00: EBS! He scores to tie up the game after a sloppy centring play from Sekera comes onto Eberle's stick at exactly the right time.
2nd period, 0:36: A "let's go Predators" call echos alone in the arena as Nashville tries to take a late-period lead and harmlessly shoots into the Brittany Webbing.
2nd period, 0:00: Oilers kill the time in the final 20 seconds of the period, and we go into the third period with a 4-4 tie.
5:04pm: Elliotte Friedman is on the line with Ron reporting that Ben Bishop is going to the LA Kings, and Hanzel is going to Minnesota. That's good news for Los Angeles, and insanely good news for the Wild. Elliotte also admits that this means Wednesday's trade deadline is going to be a bust. He's going to hear from a Rogers TV executive pretty soon...
5:05pm: After the fucking NDP are finished ruining this province, Dynacare won't be advertising about being the official medical imagers of the Edmonton Oilers on TV anymore.
5:07pm: It looks like this afternoon's game should finish right around 6pm. Just enough time to have an evening nap. I'm on my fifth beer since the game started (minus the 1/5th of a can I accidentally spilled all over my floor)
3rd period, 19:52: We're back underway, as the Oilers and Predators are tied 4-4 after two.
3rd period, 19:46: Kris Russel gets a 2-minute minor for hooking early in the period and getting the hot-as-hell Nashville powerplay another kick at the can.
3rd period, 19:15: Every time Benning touches the puck for a moment I get exicted thinking that we got Hemsky back.
3rd period, 18:41: Another PP goal, and the Predators take a 5-4 lead. Oilers leave the entire right side deserted, and Neale gets the assist. Oilers are going to challenge that there was an offside.
3rd period, 18:37: The Nashville arena played that stupid "Cellphone" song by Drake during the Coach's Challenge, instead of their usual country music. Somehow the goal still counts despite that flagrant foul. Martok during the challenge: "Come on. We have got fucked on that rule so much". 5-4 Nashville. Sportsnet has looked at the exact angle and declared it was a bad call.
3rd period, 18:17: Both teams are now well rested between the intermission and the call, so they respond with fast and physical play.
3rd period, 17:29: Right off the post!
3rd period, 17:23: Right off the post again!
3rd period, 16:21: Nurse goes offside as he tries to bring the puck into the Nashville zone all on his own instead of passing to a forward.
3rd period, 16:10: Icing call against Nashville, but the shifts weren't out very long. Won't matter much.
3rd period, 14:10: Caligula and Le Test Tube combined for a couple great poke attempts around the net there.
3rd period, 13:25: Great couple plays by the Oilers there to keep the puck trending in the right direction.
3rd period, 11:11: Talbot gives up a juicy rebound but so far no negative side effects.
3rd period, 10:38: Klefbom crosses the blue line and fires a wrister that Rinne stops. Nashville could have had a penalty if they had possession during a sloppy change.
3rd period, 10:03: McDavid and Forsberg are tied up following a weird drop pass McDavid did south of the dot in the circle. McDavid ends up offside.
3rd period, 9:28: Larsson and Klefbom trade sloppy passes and then the Klefbom fires the puck offside. Remember: Nashville played yesterday. Yet the Oilers are the ones who look exhausted and making sloppy passes.
3rd period, 8:07: Nashville continues to outskate and out-hussle the Oilers. Remember: Nashville played yesterday
3rd period, 7:52: Oilers take a break from passing to each other in their own end to buzz around Pekka Rinne who finally contains the puck. Still 5-4 for the Nashville Predators.
3rd period, 7:37: After a referee takes a break from bleeding from the mouth to get treated at the Nashville bench, play resumes. McDavid shoots from the low slot but Renne makes the save.
3rd period, 7:22: Ref Tim Peel is bleeding from the nose and his jersey is filthy. But he's a ref, it's allowed.
3rd period, 6:53: Eberle with a great chance but Rinne is ready for anything in this period.
3rd period, 6:17: Kassian almost scores! But he misses the wide open net!
3rd period, 5:49: Nurse can't quite play the puck and gets a glove to the face for his trouble as he falls to the ice.
3rd period, 5:19: Oilers ice the puck, and Edmonton has no time out because they lost the challenge earlier.
3rd period, 4:46: McDavid with a great play between defenders but he can't get it to Maroon.
3rd period, 4:28: Rinne covers it again after Maroon tries to deflect a Klefbom bomb from the blue line. Maroon looks stunned. Not emotionally, physically. He got involved after the play with Ryan Ellis who seems to have connected.
3rd period, 3:45: Klefbom did a neat little skating move to get the puck into the Preds zone.
3rd period, 3:33: It didn't matter, Preds got it back.
3rd period, 2:59: Sekera to Nuge. Nuge to...a player on the other team.
3rd period, 2:11: Wilson isn't fast enough. Nashville ices the puck. Will Talbot be staying in the crease?
3rd period, 2:10: Empty net.
3rd period, 2:02: Wilson on the faceoff tries for the empty net but misses. In other words, he ices it again. Can the Oilers capitalize?
3rd period, 1:52: With Nashville playing yesterday they should be the more fatigued team, which should give the Oilers an advantage with the 6-on-5.
3rd period, 1:43: Nashville shoots the puck down the ice again, because the Oilers suck in the faceoff circle.
3rd period, 0:55: Lucic fires the puck into the Nashville end and it pops back out.
3rd period, 0:38: Sekera wins the race and the Preds ice the puck again. It doesn't seem to matter. Oilers don't have enough pep.
3rd period, 0:15: Following a Nashville timeout (so now the Oilers "pep advantage" is even more weakened) the Oilers cycle and try to jam the puck into the net. Instead of a goal, Maroon gets a holding penalty. Ellis on his side uses his stick like Aragon to knock the flying puck out of the air and save a goal.
3rd period, 0:00: Game over. 5-4 Nashville Predators over the Edmonton Oilers.
6:11pm: As I start my 7th beer, I'm looking at this game as yet another missed opportunity. The Oilers fall to 33-22-8, 18-12-5 on the road, and against a team that was playing their second game in a back-to-back. Sure this is a team relatively good at those situations, but the Oilers failed to capitalize on a winnable game against a team below them in the standings. They started off strong, but were horribly outclassed during Nashville powerplays and this demoralized the team to the extent that they gave up their advantage in energy and speed that characterized the first half of the 1st period. They did storm back from a 4-2 deficit, which is good to see, but they didn't finish them off. They couldn't close the deal. 1992 Alec Baldwin wouldn't have given them any coffee. By the third period the Oilers looked like the tired out team, which regardless of the final score tonight doesn't reflect well on their chances in the playoffs. Being able to get a second/third/fourth/ninth wind is the hallmark of a good playoff team: for that, ignore the Kings and the Blackhawks and instead look at the 2006 Oilers. They always had another gear they could switch to (remember Hemsky vs Detroit or Samsonov vs the Sharks), and this team still doesn't. It needs it. Nashville showed that they have it, and the score (and the play in the 3rd period as a whole) reflects that.
6:12pm: This concludes this liveblog, thanks for all who joined us. Anybody with any thoughts or ideas on how the Oilers can improve are welcome to post them in the comments.