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Predators edge Oilers 3-2 behind Kostitsyn
By JIM DIAMOND
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The last time Sergei Kostitsyn played against Edmonton, he committed a costly mistake.
When the Oilers came to town Monday night, he made up for it and more.
Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist to help the Nashville Predators extend their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 victory.
During a March 17 game in Edmonton, it was a bad line change by Kostitsyn that led to a short-handed goal for the Oilers in their 3-2 win. Kostitsyn was a healthy scratch for Nashville's next game two nights later.
"That was against Edmonton? I don't remember that. That was a long time ago," Kostitsyn joked when asked about his previous game against the Oilers. "I know I made a mistake, but it is in the past."
Kevin Klein and Chris Mueller also scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne made 24 saves in his 22nd consecutive start.
Martin Erat added two assists for the Predators. He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past three games.
Taylor Hall and Shawn Horcoff scored for the Oilers in their third consecutive loss.
Hall opened the scoring at 7:53 of the opening period with his seventh of the season.
Kostitsyn answered for Nashville at 11:51 of the first when he converted off a nifty Mike Fisher pass from the right side.
"Sergei is a real intelligent player," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "I was glad he was trying to shoot the puck today and he got rewarded."
Fisher's assist extended his season-long points streak to seven games.
Klein gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 4:31 of the second.
From the right circle, Erat found Kostitsyn on the left side. Kostitsyn carried the puck in deep and then fed Klein in the low slot where he had an easy wrist shot into an open net for his second of the season.
Mueller scored the eventual game-winner at 11:33 of the third when he drove down the right side and tucked a nice wrist shot just underneath the crossbar on the glove side.
"I was trying to put it upstairs," Mueller said. "I didn't want to make a move, just try to get a shot on goal and it went in, so it was good."
Edmonton got within one at 7:03 of the third when Ales Hemsky's shot from the right side hit Horcoff's skate and squeezed between Rinne's pads.
"I don't know what it was early," Horcoff said. "We weren't playing the way we needed to and all of a sudden we responded in the third and came out the way we wanted to at the start and controlled the whole period. It's not enough. Twenty minutes against good teams just aren't enough."
But the Oilers could not get another shot past Rinne despite outshooting Nashville 12-4 in the third period.
"If you are going to take a positive, it would be the reaction in the third," Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. "We had at least 12-13 scoring chances in the third period, enough to tie this and get points out of the game. It is not enough to play in Nashville for 20 minutes. You've got to come here to play 60 minutes and we didn't do that and it's a painful result."
The Predators are 3-13-1 this season when their opponent scores first, but two of those wins have come in their past three games.
NOTES: Edmonton C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returned to the lineup after missing two games with a virus. ... The Oilers have scored a power-play goal in three of their past four games. ... Predators RW Patric Hornqvist returned after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.
Updated March 26, 2013