Ryan Smyth has fought a lot of battles in front of the net over the years.

So it was fitting the Edmonton Oilers winger would score a milestone goal on a rebound in front, putting him in a second-place tie with Wayne Gretzky for the franchise power-play lead.

The power-play marker against the Nashville Predators Sunday was Smyth’s 125th as a member of the Oilers. Glenn Anderson, who was at Rogers Arena for Monday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, owns the record with 126.

“It was a special moment for myself and my family,” Smyth said prior to Monday’s game. “I grew up idolizing these guys, the Edmonton Oilers, Gretz, and Andy (Anderson). Andy drove over me once, so I think I owe him one. It’s special to play in this league and to be amongst those guys is an honour.”

Smyth and Anderson go way back to the 1987 Canada Cup days. Smyth was a stick boy during a Team Canada training camp in Banff found himself at the wrong end of Anderson’s car.

“I was a stick boy, Barry Stafford invited me because he knew I was a Banff kid,” Smyth said. “We were going for golf day and Andy said he would take me. He said to go out by the car and I didn’t know what car it was and he thought I was at the other side of the rink. I was tying my shoe down by the wheel, and he got in the car and just put it in reverse right away. He backed over me and then he took me to the hospital, I had rolled my ankle.”

Perhaps that’s when Smyth developed his high pain tolerance, necessary to take the punishment in front of the net.

“He gets whacked and hit and slashed and cross-checked and he’s fine with it, because he knows he’s going to be rewarded there,” said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. “And if he’s rewarded, the team’s rewarded. He has great habits, he’s been a pleasure to coach, he’s on every detail of the game and he’s a great, great pro.”

Yak attack

Nail Yakupov has had plenty of jump in his game since coming back from a head injury.