Predators-Oilers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 27, 2011
Prior to their current five-game road trip, the Nashville Predators suffered a lopsided defeat to the Edmonton Oilers. Reeling ever since, Nashville faces Edmonton on Monday night looking to avoid losing five straight for the first time since December. The Predators (10-8-4) came into Tuesday's matchup with the Oilers on a five-game point streak and with a 7-1-3 mark in their previous 11. Nashville, though, lost 6-2 to start a three-game skid in regulation, during which it has been outscored 17-8. The Predators are 0-2 on their trip after a 4-1 loss to Detroit on Saturday. Jack Hillen scored the lone goal for Nashville, which was outshot 37-19. ''They played well and we didn't bring our work hats (Saturday),'' Hillen said. Pekka Rinne has allowed at least three goals in each game during the slide, posting a 4.15 goals-against average in that span. He had gone 7-0-2 with a 1.86 GAA in his previous nine starts. Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period Tuesday. He dropped to 1-3-1 with a 2.63 GAA in his last five starts against Edmonton. The Predators haven't dropped five straight since a skid of equal length Dec. 18-28, and they could have a tough time as they try to avoid matching that losing streak. Edmonton (12-9-2) has won four of the last five meetings, including a 3-1 victory Oct. 17 in which it outshot Nashville 25-12. The Oilers, though, could be without young star Taylor Hall for this contest, as he is uncertain to play. Hall left a 5-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday after the first period due to an apparent left shoulder injury and did not return. He had four goals and three assists in his previous four games, and has two goals and three assists in five career games versus the Predators. "We'll see how bad it is and step back from the ledge, first of all," coach Tom Renney said. "Just relax and see what the MRI and the medical stuff tells us." Ryan Jones and Ladislav Smid scored for the Oilers, who went 2-2-0 while playing four road games in six nights. ''I think maybe fatigue caught up to us, probably cost us the game at the end of the night,'' Renney said. ''We were on fumes in the third period.'' Edmonton should be excited to return to Rexall Place, where it's 7-2-1 and has won five of six. Nikolai Khabibulin made 30 saves Saturday but has gone 2-4-0 with a 3.40 GAA in his last six starts. He began the season 7-0-2 with a 0.98 GAA. Khabibulin, however, has a 1.40 GAA in winning his last five starts against the Predators, and he's 6-1-1 with a 1.62 GAA at home this season. He made 11 saves to help beat Nashville at home in October. Jordan Eberle had three goals and seven assists during a four-game point streak that was snapped Saturday. Two of those goals came versus Nashville. Shawn Horcoff also scored twice against the Predators on Tuesday and had three assists in the meeting last month. Nashville has allowed at least one power-play goal in its last five games and has killed off only 63.2 percent of opponents' power plays in that span - second worst in the league.
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