NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 22nd (All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (23-39-10) at Nashville Predators (38-25-10), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Nashville was able to escape with two points over the weekend against another team shooting for a playoff spot. Edmonton isn't nearly as desperate.
The Predators aim to deal the Oilers a seventh straight defeat and pick up their fourth consecutive win this evening at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville won for the fifth time in six games on Sunday, besting the playoff- hopeful Sabres by a 4-3 margin in overtime. Blake Geoffrion sparked a comeback, scoring twice in a 64-second span late in the third period to earn his first career hat trick and double his goal total in his 11th career game. Martin Erat then capped the surge with a game-winning goal just 27 seconds into overtime.
With Pekka Rinne having made 20 straight starts, Anders Lindback gave the Preds' No. 1 a breather and came up with 35 saves in his first appearance since Feb. 7.
"We really didn't have many chances in the third period and then out of nowhere we get two goals to tie the game," said Lindback. "All the guys worked hard out there and it was a good win."
With the victory, Nashville is nine points back of Detroit for first place in the Central Division with nine games to go. The Preds are also tied with the Blackhawks for the sixth spot in the Western Conference, with the Ducks, Flames and Stars just a point back.
The Predators will look for separation as they will play seven of their last nine at home and are 19-8-7 as the host this year. They have won five of their past six at Bridgestone Arena.
The Oilers, meanwhile, are 0-4-2 in their last six games following Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Avalanche, who had lost 10 straight. Instead, Edmonton is now on its longest skid since an 0-5-2 span from Dec. 21-Jan. 4.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves, but also gave up the only goal of the four- round shootout. Jordan Eberle and Kurtis Foster also scored, with Foster's game-tying tally coming with 3:50 left in the third.
"This time of year with all the guys who are out right now, we've got to take positives as much as we can and I thought all of the guys stepped up in the third," said Foster.
Edmonton, which is last in the NHL with 56 points and now six back of 14th- place Colorado in the West, remain without Ales Hemsky, Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule and Shawn Horcoff due to injury, but both Colin Fraser (foot) and Jean-Francois Jacques (foot) are questionable for tonight.
Khabibulin is 5-0-2 in his last seven versus the Predators with a 1.98 goals- against average, but hasn't faced them since April 7, 2009 while with Chicago. He hasn't lost in regulation to Nashville since Nov. 4, 2007.
Devan Dubnyk has made a pair of starts versus Nashville, going 1-0-1 with a 0.96 GAA. He posted a 37-save shutout in Nashville on Feb. 7 to snap Edmonton's four-game series losing streak.
The Oilers then notched a shootout win at home on March 1 over the Preds, with Geoffrion scoring his first career goal for the Preds. Edmonton has still lost eight of its last 10 at Nashville.
Rinne is 6-2-1 with a 3.05 GAA lifetime versus the Oilers, who have lost 15 of their past 19 against the Predators overall.
03/22 10:44:49 ET