NHL

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Oilers-Predators Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Nashville Predators aren't that far out of the Western Conference playoff picture, but they need to start moving in the right direction.

A matchup with the road-weary Edmonton Oilers could help.

Nashville will try to avoid a season-high fourth straight defeat on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena in the first of three meetings between these clubs over the next 18 days.

Currently 11th in the West - two points in front of Edmonton (8-10-5) - the Predators (9-9-5) are just five points back of the third spot with 25 games left.

"That's not really dire yet," coach Barry Trotz said after Thursday's practice. "The dire truth is there are 12 teams that are all around you.''

The Predators can keep an eye on the standings as they reach the half-point of this shortened-season, but the focus should be on fixing an offense that's last in the league with 45 goals and 23.9 shots per game.

Nashville tallied one goal each night during a three-game California trip that ended with Monday's 5-1 loss to Los Angeles.

"We got to find something,'' said captain Shea Weber, who has no goals in the last six games after netting one in three straight.

The Predators added Bobby Butler off waivers from New Jersey on Monday and Zach Boychuk from Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Defenseman Victor Bartley was called up from AHL Milwaukee on Wednesday.

"Some guys have let their game slip,'' said Trotz, whose team has dropped seven of 10. "(Butler and Boychuk are) here for competition, and they're looking to stay in the National Hockey League so they're focused on trying to make it.''

The Predators need to concentrate on improving a power play that is 1 for 14 over the last six games.

Nashville has also killed just eight of 17 penalties over the last five.

The Oilers are 0 for 7 with the man advantage during a four-game slide. They had no power plays and were shut out for the first time this season on Thursday, falling 3-0 to Detroit.

"You're not going to win games scoring zero goals so that's on us," Taylor Hall told the team's official Twitter account after the Oilers fell to 1-3-2 on a franchise-record nine-game trip.

There could be even more pressure on Hall and the team's forwards if Ales Hemsky can't go. Hemsky, the team leader with eight goals, took a puck off the side of his foot in the second period on Thursday and needed to go to the dressing room. X-rays did not reveal a break.

"We have to ice it through the night and treat it and we hope that there's a shot still but it's going to be difficult for him in Nashville," coach Ralph Krueger told the Oilers' official website.

Hemsky led Edmonton with four goals and six assists as it won three of four over the Predators last season, including both in Nashville.

Devan Dubnyk turned aside 71 of 76 shots in those two victories, but he's surrendered 22 goals while posting a 1-4-1 mark in his last seven starts.

Predators netminder Pekka Rinne, a loser of three consecutive starts, gave up six goals on just 20 shots in Edmonton's two visits last season. He was pulled both times.

Nashville's last four-game skid was an 0-3-1 stretch that ended with a 2-1 victory over the Oilers on Nov. 28, 2011.

Tagged: Oilers, Predators, Ales Hemsky

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt