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Predators try to push win streak to three vs. Oilers

by Brian Hunter

OILERS (11-12-7) at PREDATORS (13-13-6)


Last 10: Edmonton 3-4-3; Nashville 4-5-1

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The home team has taken each of the first two matchups. Colin Wilson had two goals and two assists while Pekka Rinne stopped all 24 shots in a 6-0 rout for Nashville on March 8, but Devan Dubnyk's strong 29-save effort and a goal and an assist for Jordan Eberle paced Edmonton to a 3-2 win on March 17.

Big story: A prolonged win streak late in the season could be enough to put a bubble team over the hump and securely into the top eight in the Western Conference playoff race. The Predators enter Monday looking to capture their third in a row. The Oilers have dropped three of four, and need to get back on track quick.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Maybe getting back on the road is what Edmonton needs to prevent its season from fading toward a seventh straight year out of the postseason? After the Oilers ended a nine-game road trip with consecutive wins and went 1-0-1 to start a four-game homestand, there was hope they could be on the verge of cracking the top eight. But they've lost two in a row, including 3-0 at the hands of the Blues on Saturday. They only trailed by a goal entering the third period, but generating offense was an issue all night as they managed just 19 shots on Jaroslav Halak.

"I've been here for the playoffs and I've witnessed what that's like and [the fans are] as loud as they come in this League, as supportive as they come," Shawn Horcoff told the Edmonton Journal. "So, tonight was disappointing with the effort that we gave as players and we're going to need to give them better and we're going to need to give them excuses to cheer for."

Predators: Every time it looks as though Nashville might be in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for only the second time in nine seasons, the Predators seem to get it together and make another charge. On Saturday night they put an emphatic end to the Blue Jackets' franchise-record run of 12 straight games with at least a point, with Taylor Beck's first in the NHL sparking a four-goal opening period en route to a 5-2 triumph. Beck also set up a goal by David Legwand and Rinne finished with 21 saves.

"He's making a case for himself, and that's what you want young guys to do," coach Barry Trotz told the Tennessean. "The great thing with Beck is he's a big body, and he can do some things offensively off the rush, he can do some things as sort of a grind game with that bigger body."

Who's hot: The Oilers were blanked Saturday, but prior to that Sam Gagner had put together a six-game points streak featuring five goals and two assists. … Predators captain Shea Weber is out of his early-season slump, compiling three goals and eight assists over his past 10 games.

Injury report: Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (illness) could be activated off injured reserve for Monday's game. … Nashville defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) is day-to-day. Wilson and fellow forwards Patric Hornqvist and Paul Gaustad are all on injured reserve with upper-body injuries.

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