Posted March 08, 2013 on
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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.
BEST OF MAXIM
He bagged a surprising 15 goals last year. He has just a single point this year.
Nashville Predators winger Matt Halischuk has been sent to the AHL-affiliate Milwaukee Admirals on a conditioning assignment.
The official press release is below.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 7, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that...
From the Nashville Predators PR department:
“Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has assigned forward Matt Halischuk to Milwaukee (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. Halischuk remains on Nashville’s active roster during the conditioning stint.
Halischuk, 24 (6/1/88), has one assist and six penalty minutes...
Nashville Predators forward Rich Clune has been wearing a jaw protector for the past few weeks, which has not allowed him to be able to fight in games like he(More here)…
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TERESA M. WALKER AP Sports Writer The Nashville Predators are in a ''funk'' and hope a couple hard practices between games can help them break out.
At least that's the way captain Shea Weber explains the Predators' mood after three straight road losses in California.
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Colin Wilson had a career-high two goals and two assists, and the Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers, 6-0, Friday night to snap a three-game skid.
Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand, Rich Clune and Zach Boychuk also had a goal apiece as the well-rested Predators won for the first time since Feb. 25, when they beat Dallas in overtime, by matching their season-high with six...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Colin Wilson had a career-high two goals and two assists, and the Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-0 Friday night to snap a three-game skid.
Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand, Rich Clune and Zach Boychuk also had a goal apiece as the well-rested Predators won for the first time since Feb. 25, when they beat Dallas in overtime, by matching their...
Colin Wilson had a career-high two goals and two assists, and the Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-0 Friday night to snap a three-game skid.
Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand, Rich Clune and Zach Boychuk also had a goal apiece as the well-rested Predators won for the first time since Feb. 25, when they beat Dallas in overtime, by matching their season-high with six goals...
Nashville Predators forward David Legwand was dumping the puck in for a line-change late in the first period. Legwand flipped the puck in the air, and as it was on edge, it skipped at the hash marks and went off the bottom of Edmonton Oilers goalie Devan Dybnyk’s glove into the net. Pucks that are on edge and bounce right in front of you are extremely difficult for goalies...
By: Miranda Martin Miranda@PredneckNation.com Blue collar looks good on the Nashville Predators. It’s only appropriate in a region that epitomizes hard work ethic and giving everything you’ve got that their hockey team reflects the same mentality. And, finally, the Predators started to embody that aggressive, outworking team again Friday night, resulting in the team’s first...
It was hinted at by The Tennessean’s Josh Cooper earlier this morning and confirmed by injured forward Brandon Yip on Twitter. Nashville Predators defenseman Victor Bartley will make his NHL debut tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.
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I feel like just reposting the blog I wrote yesterday. What an embarrassing game against the Nashville Predators. I am completely lost for words.
My wife says to me on the drive home tonight, "why are the Oilers so terrible?" Fair question; she's not a hockey fan. She wants to know why I keep pulling handfuls of hair out of my head game-after-game. It took me a...
Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
Rich Clune, picked up on waivers prior to the start of the season on January 15th, has slowly become one of Nashville’s more finely tuned spark-plugs as the Predators reach the midway point of the season. On a night where the Oilers would come in and leave with a 6-0 loss, Clune would find himself in the middle of all of the action....
The Predators return home to face the Edmonton Oilers after a disappointing road trip to the west coast. It's an exciting game for Preds fans as a plethora of players will play their first game in Gold. Nashville needs to bounce back as they have fallen ever-so-slightly out of the playoff picture and look to be in pretty awful form of late. The Oilers are also looking to save...
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
The Edmonton Oilers are used to having a field day with the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Oilers crushed the Predators 6-2 and 6-3 last season and in 2010-2011 the Predators lost another home game to Edmonton 4-0. That is a whopping 16-5 goal differential and the Predators ship is already taking on water going 2-5-0 in their...