The Nashville Predators hope they’ve put their recent defensive struggles behind them.
Continuing their longest road trip of the season, the Predators look to build off their most recent victory while trying for an eighth straight win over the surging Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
Nashville (33-25-8) won 3-1 at Dallas on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak. The Predators had allowed 14 goals in their previous two contests, including an 8-4 loss at Buffalo on Wednesday to open the important six-game trip.
Nashville is tied with Vancouver and Colorado for the final two playoff spots in the crowded Western Conference.
“It was a huge win for us,” said goalie Dan Ellis, who made 24 saves against his former team. “Coming in and getting a huge win shows we can beat anybody.”
The Predators, who won for just the second time in six contests, had allowed 5.2 goals in their previous five games, but hope Saturday’s win will be the start of a strong finishing stretch.
“We worked on a little bit of responsibility in every area,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “Our mind-set wasn’t right. There was not enough detail in our game.”
David Legwand scored the first of Nashville’s three third-period goals Saturday. Jordin Tootoo and J.P. Dumont also had goals, while Jason Arnott recorded an assist for his eighth point in five games.
The Predators look to sweep a series from Edmonton for the second straight season when the teams meet for the final time in 2007-08.
Nashville has outscored the Oilers (31-30-5) 14-7 in three games this season, allowing its most goals in the series during a 5-4 home win on Feb. 19 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
Arnott has three goals and two assists against Edmonton in 2007-08, while Ellis, who could be back in goal Tuesday, is 3-0-0 with a 2.34 goals-against average against the Oilers, a team he had never faced prior to this season.
Though Nashville looks to continue its success by winning its fourth in a row at Edmonton, the Oilers are doing their best to remain a serious contender in the conference playoff race.
Edmonton won 4-3 over Columbus in a shootout on Sunday for its fourth straight victory, leaving the Oilers seven points out of the final playoff spot. Edmonton looks to extend its season-high home winning streak to eight games Tuesday.
“It’s big for the team,” said Edmonton rookie Andrew Cogliano, who had a goal and an assist against Columbus and has three goals with three assists in his last four contests. “It’s good for our confidence and it feels like we are finally making progress. Hopefully we can get one more win and sweep this (five-game) homestand and then keep it going on the road.”
Ales Hemsky had a goal in regulation and the only one of the shootout, while Mathieu Garon made 35 saves for his fourth straight victory. Hemsky, who has a goal and an assist versus Nashville this season, has three goals in his last two contests.