Jesse Joensuu was in a rather prickly mood the other night, so much so that the Edmonton Oilers winger was not the least bit interested in getting drawn into a general conversation about the work of his line.

The source of Joensuu’s displeasure was a decision he had made in the second period of Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, which lead to the game’s first goal. Less than two minutes later, the Rexall Place visitors were up 2-0.

“I was just staring at the puck instead of finding a guy. I should have been alert,” he said. “We could have 20 posts, 100 hits, but if we let in one goal and don’t score one of our own, the rest doesn’t matter.”

But there were also stretches in the game in which Joensuu and gritty linemates Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks were the only unit capable of pinning the Predators in their own zone, playing with that defensive consistency that head coach Dallas Eakins has been leaning on for several games now.

Gordon won 13 of his 17 faceoffs, blocked a point shot and hit the post. Hendricks dished out four hits and blocked a shot, while Joensuu registered three hits and two take-aways within his 9:50 of ice time.

“In the back of our minds, we think we can do more,” said Hendricks.

“We can add a little bit more, offensively, to the team. We’re getting the opportunities, we just need to keep working and they’re going to fall, maybe not so frequently but more consistently. What we’re not going to do is forget about our defence-first role. We’ll have a lot of defensive zone starts, a lot of those tough minutes.”

Hendricks leads the team with 39 hits, followed by defenceman Andrew Ference (23) and Joensuu (20); no forward has blocked more shots than Gordon (16), who is also on the cusp of joining the league’s top 15 with a faceoff win percentage of 57.1.