Predators-Oilers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 16, 2011
After two losses at home, the Nashville Predators are looking forward to hitting the road again. Awaiting them is a young team that is starting to show some promise. The Predators will try to open 3-0 on the road for the second straight season when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. Nashville (2-1-1) opened with wins at Columbus and St. Louis, then returned home and fell 5-2 to Phoenix on Thursday and 3-2 in a shootout to New Jersey on Saturday. The Predators will try to regroup on this trip through Edmonton (1-1-1), Vancouver and Calgary. "It galvanizes us sometimes if you have a good trip," coach Barry Trotz said. "You're out there in Canada, I think, you know, you're sort of the center of attention when you're coming to town." The Predators are unlikely to take the Oilers lightly even though Edmonton has posted back-to-back league-worst 62-point seasons. The Oilers and Predators split four games last season. "We're going to go out there and be even more motivated," Nashville center Colin Wilson said. "We're going to be playing another young team here on Monday so I think it'll be a good battle." The Oilers' top line of second-year wingers Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are giving the once-proud franchise hope, combining for 10 points. "I think the type of games that we all play, we kind of complement each others' games so it's exciting to go out there and have the chemistry that we did out there," Nugent-Hopkins said. Nugent-Hopkins, the top overall pick in the draft one year after the Oilers took Hall in that spot, recorded his first hat trick in a 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Saturday. He scored twice on the power play after Edmonton went 0 for 7 with the man advantage through its first two games. The Oilers had 26 shots through two periods before getting outshot 9-4 in the third and allowing the only goal of the period. "It is part of the process and now we've got to grow," coach Tom Renney said. "And we have to make sure we can battle back and win games like this." Nashville has been outshot in every game. Only two goalies have faced more shots than the 138 seen by Pekka Rinne, a Vezina Trophy finalist last season. Rinne has gone 3-0-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average in five career starts at Edmonton. "It's going to be good for us, just to be together, to be with the boys and travel a little bit," Rinne said. "I think it's going to be a good thing. It's going to be a huge trip for us early in the season." Former Predators winger Darcy Hordichuk will be out for the Oilers after injuring his knee Saturday. "He's got a little bit of a knee issue, we're not sure the extent of it," Renney said. "It could be as little as 10 days, it could be as much as four weeks."
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