NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 12th
(All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (27-16-3) at Edmonton Oilers (16-23-5), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Though they haven't played since last Thursday, the Oilers
didn't exactly take a break from hockey. Fresh off a mid-season mini-camp,
Edmonton will try to win for just the second time in its last 13 games as it
continues a four-game homestand tonight versus the Nashville Predators at
With just three points in its last 12 games, a 1-10-1 stretch that followed a
season-high five-game winning streak, Oilers head coach Pat Quinn decided to
put his team through a quick camp since it had a four-day break. The team went
through workouts, video sessions and drills on Friday and Saturday, took a
break on Sunday and then went through a normal practice on Monday. Quinn hopes
this will help his team make strides in getting out of the basement in the
"Four days isn't going to make a major difference I don't think, because we
have some room to go as far as becoming a team," the head coach said on
Monday. "But maybe we've made some steps that way. We hopefully can sustain
our game for a longer period of time than we have in many of them."
The Oilers, last in the West with 37 points, are 0-1-1 on their current
homestand and have dropped nine of their last 10 at home. That includes a 4-2
setback to a Columbus team on Thursday that had lost a club-record 13 straight
on the road.
Sam Gagner and Fernando Pisani lit the lamp for Edmonton, which fell to 9-11-3
at home this season. Devan Dubnyk, making only his second career NHL start,
finished with 25 saves.
While defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is set to return tonight from a three-game
absence due to an ankle injury, Jeff Deslauriers is likely to get the start in
net. Having received the bulk of the work with Nikolai Khabibulin out due to a
back injury, Deslauriers has started both games versus the Predators this
year, going 1-1-0 with a 3.51 goals-against average.
He made 40 saves in a 6-1 victory in Nashville on October 12, but then allowed
six goals on 27 shots in a 6-3 home loss on December 17. Visnovsky scored in
Nashville, which has won three of four and 12 of its last 14 versus Edmonton,
was in action last night and used special teams to post a 3-2 victory. Shea
Weber had the game-winning goal, scoring during a 4-on-3 power play with 4:03
left in the third period.
Weber now has two goals and seven assists over his last seven games, while
Ryan Jones added a power-play goal and Joel Ward scored short-handed. Dan
Ellis made 30 saves in helping Nashville to its fifth win in seven games as
well as a tie for fifth in the Western Conference.
"The best you can do is hopefully keep working hard, keep your feet moving and
hopefully get a few calls on your side," Ward said. "We just can't really put
too much trust on the refs, just concentrate on what we have to do on the
The Preds were beginning a stretch of playing seven of their next eight on the
road, and are 13-7-2 as the guest this year. Nashville has won three straight
and seven of its last nine overall on the road, as well as two straight and
six of its last seven at Rexall Place.
Ellis hasn't started back-to-back games since the beginning of December, but
he might get the call tonight given how fellow goaltender Pekka Rinne has
struggled versus the Oilers this year.
Rinne has started both games this season but has lasted just a combined 25
minutes. He gave up four goals on nine shots in the first period of the
October loss before giving way to Ellis, then was blasted for another two
goals on four shots in just five minutes of the December matchup.
Ellis made 21-of-22 saves in relief to get the win and is 5-1-0 with a 2.46
GAA in his career versus the Oilers.
Nashville is not expected to have captain Jason Arnott in the lineup tonight
for a third straight game due to an upper-body injury.
01/12 10:49:59 ET