EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers are getting some offense these days, along with some strong goaltending. And, it all has them moving up a bit from the bottom of the NHL standings.
Jordan Eberle had a pair of goals and an assist as the Oilers cruised past the Nashville Predators 5-1 on Tuesday night. Sam Gagner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall also scored for the Oilers, who have won two in a row and are 10-4-3 in their past 17 games.
"We have been trying to get some confidence in little things and tonight we started to bear down and found some ways to score, especially on the power play," Eberle said. "It definitely gives you some confidence and it was nice to get out of the hole there."
The Oilers' surge has at least temporarily moved them past Florida and into third-to-last in the overall NHL standings.
Much of the progress the Oilers have made of late has been since trading goalies Devan Dubnyk and Ilya Bryzgalov and bringing in Viktor Fasth, who made 28 saves Tuesday night, and Ben Scrivens.
"There are no soft goals with them," Hall said. "I'm sure everyone around the room will tell you. You just play with more confidence. You aren't afraid to make that little play that could turn into a big offensive chance when you know that you have guys like Viktor and Ben back there.
"It is a huge boost going into games knowing that we are going to give up chances, but we have good goalies in net."
Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said his new goaltending tandem has made an immediate impact.
"It's been perfect," he said. "The great thing is I think they have become friends right away and are helping and supporting each other, which is so important. There is competition going on at the same time. The better the one plays spurs on the other and they are just going to keep pulling each other to the top. Our goaltending has just been fabulous."
Gabriel Bourque scored the lone goal for the Predators, who have lost two in a row and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. They are nine points out of the last postseason berth in the Western Conference with just 13 games remaining.
"It wasn't a good effort," Nashville's Mike Fisher said. "We didn't do too many good things out there, we turned the puck over. We didn't do too many good things defensively and they buried them when they got chances. They played pretty well."
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said it was not the kind of effort his team can afford to have right now.