It’s already been a successful homestand for the Nashville Predators, who hope they can stay healthy for a while now that one of their top producers is back.
The Predators finish their five-game homestand Tuesday night when they face an Edmonton Oilers club that’s struggling on the road.
After missing four games with an upper-body injury, David Legwand(notes) returned Saturday night and had an assist in Nashville’s 4-3 overtime loss to Columbus. Legwand’s 15 points tie him with rookie Craig Smith(notes) for the team lead.
“I felt pretty good,” he told the Predators’ official website. “You always have some nerves in your first game back, but it was good.”
“For the most part, we’re pretty healthy,” coach Barry Trotz told the Predators’ official website. “It’s been awhile.”
With its health improving, Nashville (10-5-4) has earned six of a possible eight points thus far on the homestand, going 2-0-2.
Nick Spaling’s(notes) goal with 5:36 remaining tied Saturday’s game to force overtime. Colin Wilson(notes) and Fisher also scored for the Predators, who gave up an uncharacteristic two power-play goals after they entered the game having killed off 65 of 74 (87.8 percent) opponent power-play chances.
The Oilers (10-8-2), though, have dropped five of six following a 9-3-2 start as they deal with injury concerns of their own.
Edmonton routed Chicago 9-2 on Saturday, but failed to build on the momentum Monday and managed just 18 shots on net during a 4-1 loss to Dallas - its fourth straight road defeat.
Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins(notes), who had five assists in the win over the Blackhawks, scored his eighth goal for the Oilers’ only tally, but goalies Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) couldn’t overcome a depleted blue line and a stagnant offense. Edmonton went 0 for 6 on the power play.
Forward Sam Gagner(notes) (back) and defensemen Andy Sutton(notes) (groin), Ryan Whitney(notes) (knee) and Cam Barker(notes) (ankle) all missed the loss to the Stars, making it difficult for Edmonton to counter Dallas’ physical play.
“With our assets, there are ways to beat teams that want to come at us like that,” coach Tom Renney said. “We have to be as physical as we possibly can. When we’re healthy we have enough to push back.”
Edmonton has been outscored 24-9 in its last five defeats.
Nugent-Hopkins, who had an assist the last time these teams met, leads NHL rookies with 20 points. Smith ranks second.
The Predators begin a five-game road trip Wednesday at Minnesota.