(SportsNetwork.com) – The first-place Nashville Predators will try to win
three straight games for the first time this season when they host the
Edmonton Oilers in Tuesday’s clash at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators lead the Central Division despite not having won more than two
in a row yet this season. Nashville has won three of its last four outings and
recently ended a six-game road trip with consecutive victories over Dallas and
Nashville maintained its lead atop the Central thanks to Saturday’s 2-1
regulation win over the Blues. James Neal scored the winning goal with 6:28 to
play as the Predators edged their division rivals at Scottrade Center.
Filip Forsberg posted a goal and an assist, as did Neal, while Pekka Rinne
made 28 stops for the Predators, who went 4-2-0 on the swing.
Neal put the Predators ahead as Forsberg skated down the left wing and left a
drop pass for Neal, who wristed it in for his eighth of the year.
“I just came in behind Filip and he made a good pass to drop it,” said Neal.
“It was funny, I told him earlier that I came in behind him and he ripped one.
When I came in behind him the second time, he dropped it.”
The Predators, who are 4-1-1 as the host, are home for just one game before
visiting St. Louis again for a rematch on Thursday.
Nashville’s Anton Volchenkov is available for tonight’s game after completing
his four-game suspension for a high hit on Calgary’s Michael Ferland. The
veteran defenseman has two assists in 10 games this season.
The Oilers also will shoot for a third straight win tonight after notching
recent road wins over Buffalo and the New York Rangers.
This season has been a series of streaks for Edmonton. The club lost five
straight (0-4-1) to begin 2014-15, then won four in a row before dropping
the next four in regulation. The Oilers halted their most recent slide with
Friday’s 3-2 win over the Sabres and then recorded a 3-1 triumph Sunday night
at Madison Square Garden.
Viktor Fasth stopped 20 shots to help the Oilers down the Rangers, while Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins and Benoit Pouliot each posted a goal and an assist in the
victory. Teddy Purcell added an empty-net goal to seal the win.
“Back-to-back wins is huge for us on the road trip here,” said Nugent-Hopkins.
The Oilers, who are 2-4-1 as the guest, can finish their current road trip
over .500 with a victory tonight. Edmonton is 2-2-0 so far on the five-game
Nashville halted a three-game slide in the series versus the Oilers with a 4-1
triumph in Edmonton on Oct. 29. Craig Smith had two goals for the Preds, while
Rinne stopped 26-of-27 shots.
Edmonton has won three of the last five meetings versus the Preds in Music
Rinne is 10-6-1 with a 2.89 goals against average in his career against
Edmonton. Fasth is 4-0 with a 1.45 GAA lifetime versus the Preds, while Ben
Scrivens, who lost the meeting on Oct. 29, is 1-3-0 with a 2.78 GAA in this