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Nashville first stop on Edmonton's road trip @NHLdotcom

OILERS (2-1-1) at PREDATORS (2-1-0)

Season Series: First of four meetings this season. Nashville took three of four last season, including a 6-5 overtime decision in the most recent game between these teams on March 3. Predators captain Jason Arnott decided that one on a power-play goal 2:31 into the extra period.

Big Story: Edmonton hits the road for the first time this season after mixed results during a four-game opening homestand at Rexall Place. Nashville seems to be following last season's trend of great goaltending but not a lot of offense. All three of its games have been decided by a single goal.

Team Scope:

Oilers: On the plus side, Edmonton captured five of a possible eight points during its homestand. However, the Oilers probably should have come away with at least seven, if not all eight. A misplay by new goalie Nikolai Khabibulin led to a loss against Calgary in the final minute of regulation. When the Flames returned to town five days later, they tied the game with 1.5 seconds left in regulation and won it in a shootout. Still, the players have handled that adversity well.

"It's a long season so you can never really panic, especially early in the year," Khabibulin said after Saturday's 3-2 win over Montreal. "We have new coaches and a new system so we've got to get used to the system. There's really no reason to panic, especially when we were getting some points, too. It's not like we started 0-3. We could have had six (points), of course, but it's still early on and there's a lot of hockey to play."

Predators: Fans in Nashville are used to living on the edge. So far this season they've seen the Predators blow a 2-0 lead in Dallas before winning in a shootout, a third-period rally to beat Colorado on a pair of Patric Hornqvist goals and a 1-0 loss to Buffalo on a goal in the final minutes of regulation.

Who's Hot: Nashville's goaltending duo of Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne. After Ellis won his first two starts, posting a 1.92 goals-against average and .938 save percentage, Rinne made his season debut against Buffalo and lost despite stopping 42 of 43 shots.

"We could have won with Peks playing as well as he did,'' Arnott said. "(The goalies) are doing their job. Now we have to step up and do ours.''

Mike Comrie is making the most of his second tour of duty with Edmonton, registering four points in his first four games.

Injury Report: Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray has a concussion and is unlikely to play on the road trip, while forward Fernando Pisani (back) just began skating again.

Rugged Nashville forward Jordin Tootoo has not yet played this season due to what is now being called a hip flexor injury.

Stat Pack: Nashville has won seven straight against Edmonton at Sommet Center and has an 11-1-0 overall record in the season series dating back to the start of the 2006-07 season.

Puck Drop: Ten different Oilers already have at least one goal this season, while the Predators have relied entirely on their top line of Arnott, Hornqvist and Steve Sullivan to score the five goals they've put on the board. Nashville will need to be more than a one-line team to find continued success.

-- Brian Hunter,



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