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Preds visit Oilers seeking to improve playoff chances
(SportsNetwork.com) - With time running out in the regular season the Nashville Predators will try to aid their playoff push when they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday at Rexall Place.
The Predators missed the playoffs for only the second time in nine seasons last spring and the club is nine points out of the last postseason berth in the West with just 14 games remaining on its schedule.
Nashville hopes to pick up a much-needed win when it kicks off a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Oilers, who are 11 points behind the Preds in the Western Conference standings. Edmonton, however, has won the first two of three meetings with the Predators this season. The Oilers posted a 3-0 win in Nashville on Nov. 28 and then recorded a 5-1 win at Rexall Place on Jan. 26.
The Oilers have won three of four in the series overall and Nashville has lost two in a row and four of its last five tilts in Edmonton.
Nashville was on a three-game winning streak before running into the NHL- leading St. Louis Blues on Saturday. Patrik Berglund scored twice and Ryan Miller turned away 30 shots to help the Blues record a 4-1 road triumph in the Music City.
Eric Nystrom scored the only goal of the game for the Predators, while Pekka Rinne gave up all four goals on 26 shots in the loss.
"It was just one of those games where we couldn't get much going," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "And when we did get shots on net, their guy was on top of it."
Nashville won all three games on its recent winning streak on the road and is 14-12-6 as the visiting team this season. The Preds also will make stops in Vancouver, Calgary and Chicago during this important road trip.
The Oilers, who are headed for an eighth straight year out of the playoffs, were able to halt a two-game slide in their last trip to the ice. Justin Schultz scored a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period to help Edmonton edge the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1, on the road.
Schultz netted the go-ahead goal at 9:01 of the third. The defenseman handled the puck at the right point, skated towards the faceoff circle and beat Anton Khudobin on the blocker side with a wrist shot.
"Finally, our power play was able to chip in and win us a game," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.
Ben Scrivens made 29 saves for Edmonton, which went 2-1-1 on a four-game road trip and will now begin a six-game stay at Rexall Place. The Oilers are 12-16-3 as the home team this season.
03/18 11:04:20 ET