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Predators-Oilers Preview @NHLdotcom
Predators-Oilers Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (24-8-3) at Edmonton Oilers (21-13-4).

TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Nashville Predators try to wrap up their five-game road trip on a positive note as they play the Edmonton Oilers.

The Predators have already assured themselves of a winning record on the trip but had a six-game overall winning streak snapped Wednesday with a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

Darcy Hordichuk and Marek Zidlicky staked Nashville to a 2-0 first-period lead, but backup goaltender Chris Mason struggled the final two periods and could not protect the advantage.

"When a team's down, you've got to keep them down and not give them any life," Predators star Paul Kariya said of surrendering the lead. "We didn't do that and it's something that throughout the year we have to improve upon."

Tomas Vokoun is expected to start this game in a bid to be the first goaltender to reach 20 wins this season. He has won seven of his last eight decisions and is 4-2-2 with a 3.11 goals-against average and .901 save percentage on the road.

The Oilers are trying to get back to their winning ways after losing a pair of home games to the Minnesota Wild in a three-day span. Edmonton was outscored 8-3 in the two games, including a 4-2 defeat Wednesday.

Ty Conklin did not help himself in a bid to be the Oilers' top goaltender, allowing goals on the first two shots he faced. Conklin was not at fault on the second goal, in which the Wild's Marian Gaborik was able to beat four defenders and follow his rebound of a shot Conklin saved.

"It doesn't seem like we have the drive we had before the Christmas holiday," said center Michael Peca, referring to the Oilers' five-game winning streak before the league's Christmas break.

Edmonton went 1-for-11 on the power play in the two losses after converting 11-of-42 chances with the man advantage during its winning streak.

STANDINGS: Predators - 51 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Central Division. Oilers - 46 points, 3rd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 16 goals; Kariya and Kimmo Timonen, 22 assists; Kariya, 34 points; Hordichuk, 96 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 15 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 28 assists; Horcoff, Jarret Stoll and Ales Hemsky, 36 points; Ethan Moreau, 53 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 19.2 percent (46 for 239), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.5 percent (200 for 234), 5th. Oilers - Power play: 18.2 percent (43 for 236), 13th (tied). Penalty killing: 82.2 percent (194 for 236), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (19-5-2, 1 SO, 2.54 GAA); Mason (4-2-1, 2.97). Oilers - Mike Morrison (5-1-0, 2.35); Jussi Markkanen (12-9-3, 3.08); Conklin (4-3-1, 3.22).


LAST MEETING: Nov. 8; Predators, 3-2. At Nashville, Tenn., Scott Hartnell scored with 23 seconds to play, one of the Predators' three third-period goals.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 8-5-3 on the road; Oilers - 9-6-2 at home.

Associated Press
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