The Nashville Predators have alternated wins and losses in their last five games, but they have won consistently against their next opponent.
The Predators (17-14-3) head into Sunday’s game in Edmonton with nine consecutive wins over the Oilers (16-14-3) and four straight wins at Rexall Place.
Nashville comes off one of its biggest wins of the season, a 3-2 home victory Friday over Detroit, which eliminated the Predators in last season’s playoffs on its way to the Stanley Cup.
The Predators broke an 0-for-11 power-play slump with Kevin Klein’s second-period goal and scored more than two goals for only the third time in their last nine games.
“It has been a tough stretch for us … in terms of goal scoring lately and if we weren’t hitting it off the post, we were hitting it off the crest,” said Predators coach Barry Trotz, whose team has scored 14 times in that span. “Tonight we went to the net hard, and we got rewarded for that.”
The Predators have lost four straight (0-3-1) on the road, but haven’t had much trouble lately with the Oilers. Nashville is 9-0-0 in the series since a 3-2 overtime loss on March 5, 2006, and has scored four goals or more in seven of those meetings.
J.P. Dumont has been a key contributor for the Predators against the Oilers, tallying four goals and nine assists during those nine wins.
Nashville continued its strong performance on the penalty kill against Detroit, denying one of the league’s top power-play units on all three chances. The Predators haven’t allowed a power-play goal in the last 19 opportunities.
The Oilers have played a league-low 13 home games, and are 5-5-3 at Rexall Place this season.
Dwayne Roloson had another strong performance with 26 saves as Edmonton won its second straight, 3-2 over Vancouver on Friday.
Roloson has allowed two goals in each of his last three starts and is 5-1-1 in his last eight appearances, but is 0-4-0 with a 3.26 goals-against average in his last five games versus Nashville.
Ales Hemsky, who leads the Oilers with 35 points and is tied for the goals lead with defenseman Sheldon Souray at 10, has 18 points in his last 15 games, collecting two assists in each of his last two contests. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, meanwhile, has recorded five assists in the past three games.
Captain Ethan Moreau could return to the lineup Sunday after sitting out Friday’s win with a wrist injury. Moreau took a shot off the wrist in a 4-2 victory Monday over Phoenix.
The Oilers have scored seven goals - four on the power play - in their last two games after managing only six in their previous three contests.
“We’ve had a pretty good power play,” center Shawn Horcoff said. “We have the personnel. We have two units that can go out there. We try to focus on a hard minute each, and we try to move it around and get comfortable.”