While the Nashville Predators have struggled mightily at home of late, they’ve played very well on the road.
They can avoid their first season series sweep at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers by winning four straight road games for the first time in three seasons Tuesday night.
Coming off a 3-0-0 trip, Nashville (29-29-10) had its momentum halted with a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Saturday. The Predators need to pass four teams to earn a wild-card spot and avoid missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
"We had a few wins in a row, so it’s a disappointing feeling," said Pekka Rinne, who made 22 saves while starting back-to-back nights for the first time since returning from a 51-game absence due to a hip infection.
"Everything is crucial right now, and even before (Saturday) our (playoff) chances were slim. You realize that and it’s a disappointing feeling."
Nashville has been outscored 13-4 and gone 0 for 18 on the power play while dropping five straight at home in regulation. However, it scored 11 times and went 2 for 6 with the man advantage during the undefeated road trip, and has 20 goals during a 4-0-2 road stretch.
The Predators rank 16th in the league with 2.50 goals per game on the road. They’re 29th at 2.31 a contest at home.
Nashville, which won five total road games over last season’s condensed schedule, is 14-12-6 away from home in 2013-14. It last won four straight road contests Dec. 31, 2010-Jan. 8, 2011.
Coach Barry Trotz has mixed up his line combinations with regularity of late and likely will continue to do so despite the Predators managing only Eric Nystrom’s second-period goal on 31 shots Saturday.
"I think it keeps everybody healthy in terms of their freshness," Trotz said. "On the road it keeps (opponents) away from any matchups they might not want. It worked for us for three straight games and we tried it again, just trying to get some rhythm to everybody’s game."
Team points leader Shea Weber has been held off the scoresheet during the five-game home skid, but has a goal and two assists in his last two on the road.
The Predators have been outscored 8-1 in losing both games this season to the Oilers (24-36-9), who are last in the West but in the midst of a 9-4-3 stretch.
Second-year defenseman Justin Schultz had a goal with an assist and Ben Scrivens made 29 saves as Edmonton won 2-1 over Carolina on Sunday to conclude a 2-1-1 trip.
"I still think we have some work to do but hopefully we gain more confidence going forward," Schultz told the Oilers’ official website after he matched a career high with 27 points. "Everyone’s buying into what were supposed to be doing to win games."
Taylor Hall assisted on Schultz’s tiebreaking goal in the third period. Hall, with a career-high 41 assists, has four and two goals during a four-game point streak against Nashville.