NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 2nd (All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (19-36-6) at Nashville Predators (33-23-5), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to win their fourth consecutive season series over the Edmonton Oilers tonight when the two teams get together at Bridgestone Arena just one day after making a trade with each other.
The Predators have won 13 of their last 15 meetings versus the Oilers, including two of three this season. Nashville hasn't lost a season series to Edmonton since it went 1-2-1 versus the club in 2005-06. The Preds swept the four-game set the next two seasons before taking three of four last year.
The Oilers handed the Preds a 6-1 home loss back on October 12 to snap a seven-game series road losing streak, but Nashville countered with two straight victories in Edmonton. That includes a 5-3 win there on January 12 behind a goal and two assists from Ryan Jones and 38 saves from Pekka Rinne.
Rinne is likely to get the start tonight, his first since he signed a two-year extension last Wednesday. The 27-year-old is 20-12-4 with three shutouts and a 2.80 goals-against average in 40 games (37 starts) this year and 4-1-0 with a 3.45 GAA in his career versus the Oilers.
Rinne should also have a new defenseman in front of him, as the Predators acquired Denis Grebeshkov from the Oilers on Monday for a 2010 second-round draft choice. Grebeshkov has six goals and 13 assists in 47 games this season.
"We're wishing Denis well," Oilers head coach Pat Quinn told his team's Web site. "He was fun to work with, he was open-minded, and certainly a coachable guy. It didn't probably go as well with us as we'd all hoped, but none of us have been that good. So this is a great opportunity for him."
Nashville comes out of the Olympic break seventh overall in the Western Conference, two points up on eighth-seeded Calgary. The Preds went 2-1-1 on a four-game road trip before the break.
Defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are expected to reunite this evening after facing off in Sunday's gold medal game won by Canada, 3-2, in overtime. Weber had two goals, four assists and a plus-four rating while playing with Canada, while Suter had four assists and was a plus-9 for the tournament with the Americans.
While Nashville will have its defenseman back on the ice, Edmonton hopes that Sam Gagner can return as well. The forward missed the Oilers' last four games before the Olympics with a left knee ailment and is questionable for tonight.
Already without Nikolai Khabibulin (back), Ales Hemsky (shoulder) and Sheldon Souray (hand), Jean-Francois Jacques is now lost for the season because of a back injury, while Ethan Moreau is questionable with a neck ailment.
Edmonton has lost five of six and 18 of its last 21 games. The Oilers are last in the NHL with 44 points and have also dropped 11 of their last 12 on the road.
The Oilers are likely to start Jeff Deslauriers tonight. He is 1-2-0 with a 4.51 GAA in three games versus the Predators.
03/02 10:35:04 ET