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Predators continue road trip vs. Oilers

by Mike Battaglino

PREDATORS (23-22-8) at OILERS (15-32-6)


Last 10: Nashville 5-3-2; Edmonton 2-7-1

Season series: Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves in his first start for the Edmonton Oilers and shut out the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Thanksgiving.

Big story: If goalie Devan Dubnyk starts for Nashville, it would be against the team that traded him there Jan. 15. Dubnyk has allowed nine goals in two starts for the Predators.

"I'm still trying to settle in and get comfortable with the guys in front of me, and let them get comfortable too," Dubnyk told The Tennessean after a 5-4 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday. "It felt better than the first one, but four goals … have some work to do still. I'll keep at it, and be ready to go when I get called next."

Since Dubnyk arrived, Predators goalie Carter Hutton is 4-0-0, having allowed one goal in each of his past two games, including a 2-1 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Predators: Nashville has scored 22 goals in its past six games (4-1-1), an average of 3.7. It was averaging 2.4 per game prior to that.

Eric Nystrom had four goals by himself against Calgary, the second of a four-game Canadian visit.

"We've got three out of four points, we're going to take that," Nystrom told The Tennessean, "and we're going to go into Edmonton and play hard and give us a chance to keep this road trip going in the right direction."

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto, acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade for Kevin Klein on Wednesday, played 18:20 (24 shifts) and was plus-1 Friday after getting 13:15 of ice time (17 shifts) Thursday.

Oilers: Edmonton, on a six-game losing streak, held its team skills competition Saturday.

"With the atmosphere that we've been in for a long time here, you want to try to loosen up and try to enjoy the moment," forward Ryan Smyth told the Oilers website. "Today I thought that the players loosened up and had some fun, relaxed a bit, but it was nice to see the fan support that we got …"

According to STATS Inc., the Oilers are minus-40 in scoring margin during the first two periods and minus-11 in the third. They trailed the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 three minutes into the second period Friday before losing 4-3.

"It's been a common theme this year, our consistency," forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins told STATS. "We might play good for the first period and then sag in the second and play good in the third. We have to find a way to stop doing that. We are killing ourselves with efforts like that, not playing a full game."

Who's hot: Predators defenseman Roman Josi has three two-point games in his past four. … Oilers forward Jordan Eberle has a four-game point streak. Forward Taylor Hall has 10 points in 11 games. Forward Matt Hendricks, traded to Edmonton as part of the Dubnyk deal, scored his first goal for the Oilers on Friday. Rookie defenseman Martin Marincin got his first point (an assist) in 15 NHL games.

Injury report: Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (hip) is on injured reserve. … Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference (upper body) left the game Friday but will play. Forward Nail Yakupov (concussion protocol) played Friday after sitting out since Jan. 16. Forward Ales Hemsky (left ankle) and defenseman Philip Larsen (illness) are practicing.

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