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GAME: Edmonton Oilers (4-6-1) at Nashville Predators (8-0-1).

TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT.

More than three weeks into the season and the Nashville Predators will get their first chance to see how they react to a loss when they face the Edmonton Oilers.

Nashville has been one of the league's biggest surprises over the first month, winning their first eight games before losing in overtime 3-2 at Columbus on Wednesday.

Adam Foote's short-handed goal in overtime left the Predators two wins short of tying Toronto's league-best start of 10-0 in 1993.

"That's over with, that's a nice chapter," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "Let's do something now through the next 73 games. The next 73 games are as important as the first nine."

Nashville's record fell to 8-0-1, but it remains the league's only team yet to experience a regulation loss and the Predators have collected 17 of a possible 18 points.

After making the playoffs in 2003-04 for the first time in franchise history, the Predators have continued to shed their label as one of the league's perennial losers.

Whether they've made the jump into the league's elite remains to be seen.

Despite the impressive start, none of Nashville's first nine opponents had a winning record through Wednesday. Colorado improved to 5-4-1 with a 6-2 victory Thursday over Vancouver.

The Predators already have displayed the ability to win close games as seven of their nine contests have been decided by one goal. They've come from behind in six of their eight victories.

Another sub-.500 team will provide the opposition on Saturday.

Edmonton snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory at Dallas on Friday, winning for the first time since Oct. 10.

Radek Dvorak snapped a tie at 8:12 of the third period and Raffi Torres added his team-leading seventh goal with 2:24 remaining for the Oilers, who had been outscored 15-5 in their previous three games.

"It was a good forecheck (by Ethan Moreau) and a good finish," Dvorak said. "It's nice to score this kind of goal. It's huge after a seven-game losing streak."

Torres' goal came on the power play but the Oilers continued to struggle with the advantage, going just 1-for-7 against the Stars. Edmonton has converted only four of 52 power-play chances in its last eight games.

STANDINGS: Oilers - 9 points, 4th place (tied), 8 PB, Northwest Division. Predators - 17 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Torres, 7 goals; Ales Hemsky, 7 assists; Shawn Horcoff, 8 points; Moreau, 27 PIM. Predators - Steve Sullivan, 5 goals, 7 assists and 12 points; Jeremy Stevenson, 37 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 13.5 percent (10 for 74), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (59 for 74), 20th. Predators - Power play: 18.6 percent (11 for 59), 13th. Penalty killing: 88.1 percent (52 for 59), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (3-5-1, 0 SO, 3.15 GAA); Ty Conklin (1-1-0, 4.39). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (7-0-1, 2.20); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 3.69).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 19, 2004; Oilers, 5-4. At Edmonton, Alberta, Igor Ulanov scored the go-ahead goal with 1:31 left in the third period and Moreau had two goals and an assist to lead the Oilers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 2-4-0 on the road; Predators - 5-0-0 at home.

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