Oilers-Senators Preview

Sam Gagner’s incredible stretch hasn’t been enough for the

Edmonton Oilers to end their poor play on the road.

The Ottawa Senators had been having problems on their own ice –

and anywhere for that matter – until finally getting some pucks in

the net in their last contest.

Gagner tries to continue his recent impressive play and help the

Oilers end an eight-game losing streak away from home Saturday when

they take on an Ottawa team trying to build on its first win in

three weeks.

Edmonton (21-28-5) went 4-0-1 from Jan. 23-Feb. 4 as Gagner had

six goals and seven assists, with four of each coming in an 8-4 win

over Chicago on Feb. 2.

The Oilers’ only loss in that span came in a shootout at

Vancouver on Jan. 24, and they’ve opened their current three-game

trip with a pair of defeats to extend their road slide.

Not only has Edmonton lost eight in a row as the visitor, it’s

also dropped 15 of 16 away from home to fall to 6-20-6 on the road

in 2011-12.

Gagner has been doing his best to try to help the Oilers earn a

rare road win. He had an assist in Monday’s 6-3 loss to Toronto and

scored both Edmonton goals in a 4-2 defeat to NHL-leading Detroit

on Wednesday.

The fifth-year center has eight goals and eight assists over his

last seven games after recording 20 points in his first 40

contests. He’s three goals away from matching his career high of 16

set in 2008-09.

“Obviously, it feels good to produce,” Gagner said. “It feels

better to win.”

Edmonton didn’t win in its first matchup with Ottawa (28-22-7)

this season, falling 5-2 at home Nov. 17 despite outshooting the

Senators 24-16. Gagner missed that game with a sore back.

“They’ve got a lot of skill over there,” right wing Jordan

Eberle told the Oilers’ official website. “They can shoot the puck,

they’ve got a very good ‘D’ core. I remember the last time we

played them in our rink, we were outshooting them, but we couldn’t

score and all of a sudden they got two.”

Ottawa struggled to score two goals during a seven-game skid,

getting held under that number in five of those contests, but found

its groove offensively Thursday and snapped the losing streak with

a 4-3 win over Nashville.

Defenseman Chris Phillips scored his first two goals of the

season in his 1,000th NHL game, and Jason Spezza also scored twice

while adding an assist as the Senators also ended a four-game home

losing streak.

“It’s tough to stop losing streaks and we did that tonight,”

Spezza said. “When you’re winning games it seems like it’s easy to

win them, and when you’re losing games it seems like you keep

finding a way to lose. So to dig ourselves out of that hole

(Thursday), hopefully we can springboard it and have a good one on

Saturday.”

Spezza had two assists against Edmonton in November as the

Senators improved to 10-2-0 with a tie in the series since the

start of the 2002-03 season.