NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 3rd
(All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (31-26-5) at Nashville Predators (31-28-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Playoff positioning in the Western Conference will be on
the line when the Nashville Predators host the Edmonton Oilers tonight in a
key showdown from the Sommet Center.
Only one point separates these teams in the jumbled conference standings right
now, with Edmonton clinging to one of the final two postseason seeds. The
Oilers are tied with Anaheim for seventh place in the West with 67 points,
while Nashville sits immediately behind those two.
The Predators enter this matchup as the hotter of the two clubs and are coming
off a dominating performance against the powerful Detroit Red Wings on
Saturday. Nashville dealt the defending Stanley Cup champs a humbling 8-0 loss
at the Sommet Center to extend its winning streak to four games.
Jason Arnott led the outburst, which matched the second-highest scoring total
in franchise history, with a hat trick, while Steve Sullivan and J.P. Dumont
each finished with three assists in the rout. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne
registered his sixth shutout of the season by stopping all 30 shots he faced.
Nashville closed out February with an impressive 10-4-1 record, and Rinne
played a big role in that successful stretch. The rookie netminder went 9-2-1
with a 1.72 goals against average and two shutouts in 12 starts during the
Rinne has also won both of his two starts against the Oilers this season and
yielded just two goals on 61 shots in those games.
Sullivan has been on a tear as well of late, as the oft-injured forward has
amassed four goals and four assists over his last eight contests.
Nashville will attempt to maintain its recent form against an Edmonton team it
has dominated in recent years. The Predators have won 10 of the last 11
matchups in the series, while the Oilers have lost in six consecutive visits
to the Music City.
Edmonton hasn't won in Nashville since a 5-1 decision on October 29, 2005.
The Oilers do come in on a high note, having earned a 3-2 home victory over
Minnesota on Saturday. The win did come with a cost, however, as captain Ethan
Moreau was struck in the right eye with a stick late in the game and will be
sidelined for an undetermined period.
Edmonton received 43 saves out of veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson in
Saturday's triumph, the team's second in its last three games.
Tom Gilbert snapped a 2-2 tie when he fired a wrist shot past the Wild's Josh
Harding with 4:38 in the second period. Roloson made the lead stand by turning
back an 18-shot barrage in the final frame.
The Oilers begin an important four-game road trip tonight in which they will
also make stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Edmonton is 16-14-1 as the
visitor for the season.
03/03 10:52:27 ET