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Oilers, Predators both try to break slumps

by Brian Hunter

OILERS (8-10-5) at PREDATORS (9-9-5)


Last 10: Edmonton 3-5-2; Nashville 3-6-1

Season series: First of three meetings, all of which will take place this month. Edmonton took three of four last season, including both games played in Nashville. Ales Hemsky led all scorers with four goals for the Oilers, while teammate Jordan Eberle had three.

Big story: Each team is attempting to snap a losing streak and climb a little closer to the top eight in the Western Conference. The Oilers have dropped four in a row, while the Predators have lost three straight.

Team Scope:

Oilers: An arduous nine-game road trip for Edmonton still has three stops remaining, and after a 1-0-1 start the young Oilers have hit the skids. They got a solid effort Thursday night from goalie Devan Dubnyk, who turned aside 25 of 27 shots in Detroit, but his teammates were blanked by Jimmy Howard in what ended up a 3-0 loss.

"We would have liked to have seen maybe a power play or two in the game but when you look at the whole picture here, there's no excuses for this one," coach Ralph Krueger said. "We cannot stop playing for 10 minutes against the Detroit Red Wings and expect to get points and that's what happened here."

Predators: On Feb. 25, defenseman Roman Josi erupted for a two-goal, four-point night and Nashville scored five times in an overtime victory over Dallas. That's the Predators' only win in their past six games, and in the five losses they've scored a total of three goals. Compounding the lack of scoring, goalie Pekka Rinne has been pulled in two of his past three shots. He yielded five goals on just 13 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Kings on Monday.

"This kind of game should have made it easier for me, but I didn't respond," Rinne said. "I just have to make sure I'm doing my job. Out of the last three games, I've been pulled twice, so I'm not doing my job and just I have to focus on that. I can't focus on how many goals we're scoring. I have to be able to help this team."

Who's hot: Dubnyk is 1-3-1 on the Oilers' road trip, but he's kept them in games with a .908 save percentage over that span. … Gabriel Bourque has the lone Predators goal in each of the past two games.

Injury report: Hemsky left Thursday night's game after blocking a shot, and is day-to-day along with defenseman Theo Peckham (illness). Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin (groin), defensemen Mark Fistric (elbow) and Andy Sutton (knee) and forwards Shawn Horcoff (hand), Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder) and Anton Lander (foot) are on injured reserve. … Nashville defenseman Hal Gill (lower body) and forward Brandon Yip (upper body) are on injured reserve.

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