Predators-Oilers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 16, 2013
While they've had trouble getting consistent efforts lately, the Nashville Predators dominated the Edmonton Oilers earlier this month. The Predators will try avoid a third straight loss and reverse their road woes by beating the Oilers again Sunday night. Nashville (11-11-6) has lost six of its last eight overall, but it hardly looked like a struggling team when it hosted Edmonton on March 8. Colin Wilson had two goals and two assists and Pekka Rinne made 24 saves in a 6-0 rout. Since then, the teams have gone in somewhat different directions. Nashville is 1-2-1 in its last four and has been outscored 13-7 in back-to-back regulation defeats in western Canada. "We're losing guys through the neutral zone and we're not clogging it up like we need to. In our own zone, we're puck watching a little bit too much," center Mike Fisher said. "We're really not helping our goalies much, not giving them a chance, so we've got to do a better job of that and play with the puck a little bit more, and want the puck." Rinne was pulled early from each of the last two games. He did not make a save Friday at Calgary, allowing goals on the only two shots he faced in eight minutes of a 6-3 loss as Nashville fell to 1-7-1 in its last nine road games. "It's embarrassing. I have to find a way to help my team," said Rinne, who gave up four goals on 12 shots in a 7-4 loss in Vancouver the night before. The Oilers (10-11-6), meanwhile, won twice after their drubbing in Nashville to finish a franchise-record nine-game road trip on a high note. They picked up another point in a 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit on Friday, although they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner, who has four goals in his last three games, scored as Edmonton outshot the Red Wings 26-14 over the first 40 minutes, but Detroit had a 14-6 edge on shots the rest of the way. "It looked like we sat back and we were afraid to make plays," Hall told the Oilers' official website. "When you have a 2-0 lead, you should be calm, you should be composed. ... We weren't that." Ales Hemsky had his fourth assist in three games. He missed the March 8 matchup with Nashville with a foot injury, but he had his only career hat trick in his most recent game against the Predators last March 20. Nashville's David Legwand, the owner of a five-game point streak, has scored three times in his past two games against the Oilers. Shea Weber had three assists in this month's matchup and has a four-game point streak in the series. If the Predators decide to sit Rinne, Chris Mason could prove a capable substitute. He's 5-1-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average in eight career games against Edmonton. Oilers No. 1 goaltender Devan Dubnyk is 3-2-1 with a 2.19 GAA versus Nashville.
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