In the first of four meetings with the Oilers, the Predators will try to win for the 10th time in 12 games Sunday night against the Western Conference’s worst team, a loser in 13 of 15.
With help from Pekka Rinne(notes), Nashville (26-15-6) has made last month’s five-game skid a distant memory. Rinne stopped 32 shots in a 5-1 win over Colorado on Thursday night to improve to 8-1-0 with a 1.44 goals-against average over his last nine games.
The Predators have used his efforts in large part to outscore opponents 41-21 during their 9-2-0 stretch.
“We’ve been playing pretty well as of late, and we’ve been building a lot of confidence,” Rinne said. “Personally, I feel good, and the guys are playing well in front of me.”
Rinne didn’t start a 6-3 loss to Chicago to open Nashville’s season-high, six-game road trip but has allowed a combined three goals in the past two games. He could get the chance to improve to 6-1-0 against the Oilers on Sunday, but Nashville also has a game in Calgary on Monday night.
Rinne’s 3.37 career GAA in eight games against Edmonton is his second-worst against a West opponent. His worst is 3.64 versus Calgary.
Rinne was pulled from the first two matchups with the Oilers last season, then won the last two despite giving up six goals.
The Predators helped him out by outscoring the Oilers 15-9 while winning last season’s final three meetings, including two in Edmonton. Nashville has won 14 of 16 over the Oilers, averaging 4.0 goals, and seven of eight at Rexall Place.
While Edmonton enters having allowed 16 goals during a four-game losing streak, the Predators have scored five in each of their past two.
J.P. Dumont(notes) had five goals through the first two games of the road trip, including his first hat trick in more than nine years in a 5-2 victory over Phoenix on Tuesday night, before five different Predators scored Thursday.
Nashville will try to keep rolling against the Oilers, who are allowing a league-worst 3.33 goals per game.
Edmonton fell 4-2 to Dallas on Thursday night despite posting a 32-24 advantage in shots. The Oilers (14-25-7) also outshot Minnesota 32-26 at the start of a three-game homestand Tuesday night but lost 4-1.
They’re 2-11-2 over their last 15 and haven’t scored more than two goals in seven of eight.
“I would like to be more competitive in the standings,” coach Tom Renney said. “But we’re not as concerned with that as we are with continuing to build. … We obviously want to continue to work on our game and what we want to be as quickly as possible.”
Renney’s team is 1-5-1 in its last seven home games, while Nashville has won six of eight on the road.