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Oilers open seven-game road trip in Music City

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM
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Oilers open seven-game road trip in Music City
Edmonton Oilers vs. Nashville Predators



Start Time: 6:08 p.m. MDT (5:45 p.m. PPV)

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Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Game Notes | Oilers/Predators Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com

If, as some hockey pundits believe, road trips foster camaraderie and team cohesion, the Oilers are poised to be one tight unit come mid-November.

The Oilers will say goodbye to Rexall Place until Nov.  13—a total of 16 days and seven games—when they’ll play the Toronto Maple Leafs for a two-game “homestand.”

Edmonton’s first stop on their Eastern U.S. tour will be in Nashville where they’ll take on the Predators following a heartbreaker on Monday versus Boston.

The Oilers were shut out for the second time this season—both times with Dwayne Roloson in net—for a scoring total of four goals in four games.

“It was a disappointing effort at the start,” head coach Craig MacTavish said. “Rollie kept us in it.”

“We’re not creating a lot of offense but we’re still playing like we are,” Captain Ethan Moreau said. “We really have to simplify our game.”

The Predators are tied with Oilers at nine points on the season but the important difference in tonight’s game may be the special teams. Nashville is near the bottom of the league in special teams as they are ranked 21st on the powerplay and 25th on the penalty kill. Edmonton is 11th on the powerplay but sits last in the league on the penalty kill.

Just The Facts...

The Answers

Pre-Game Video...

Pre-game comments from Fernando Pisani, Ladislav Smid, Mathieu Garon & Craig MacTavish. Bob Stauffer and Rob Brown discuss tonight's game in Nashville. Predators player locker room comments from the morning skate. Predators head coach Barry Trotz. Pre-Game Audio... Bob Stauffer and Rob Brown preview tonight's game in Nashville Mathieu Garon comments on tonight's game Pre-game thoughts from Ladislav Smid Fernando Pisani on facing the Predators Head Coach Craig MacTavish comments on the game ahead

In Depth...

MacIntyre rewarded for his perseverence - Steve MacIntyre gave up hockey after the birth of his son, but still found a way to reach the NHL with the Oilers. ...more

The Other Side

Mr. Jones goes to Washington - Ryan Jones discusses the team's trip to Washington, D.C. in his latest blog entry, including the team bus tour of the monuments. Photo Gallery | ...more Milwaukee Admirals Update - With his first period goal Friday night against Peoria, Antti Pihlstrom extended his goal scoring streak to four games. Pihlstrom has five goals on the season, which ties him for seventh in the AHL. ...more

Odds and Ends

Download your November Wallpaper today! - The 2008-09 season is now well underway with a new month right around the corner and with it, a new wallpaper. Follow the link to download one of THREE different versions of your Oilers November calendar wallpaper. ...more Game Day in the Press Box- The Bill Tuele Press Box in Rexall Place is a busy place during every Oilers home game, but preparation for puck drop starts the night before and includes everything from writing statistics to stocking the ice cream reserves. ...more

From the Wire (AP)

The Edmonton Oilers' fast start has been all but completely erased by a four-game losing streak. Opening a grueling seven-game road trip against the Nashville Predators - a team they haven't beaten in nearly three years - won't offer any easy solutions, either.

The struggling Oilers hope to rediscover their scoring touch and end a five-game skid in Nashville on Thursday night at Sommet Center.

Starting a season with four consecutive wins for the first time in 23 years was a very good sign for the Oilers, who hope to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. The scoring, however, has disappeared lately with Edmonton (4-3-1) getting shut out twice and totaling only four goals during its current 0-3-1 stretch.

A brilliant 35-save performance from Dwayne Roloson wasn't enough on Monday as Boston beat the Oilers 1-0 in overtime.

"It's always hard to take a loss," Roloson said. "It doesn't matter if that goal comes in overtime or on the first shift or the last shift of the game. It's always hard to lose a game. The parameters don't change. It's still frustrating."

All four of Edmonton's wins have been by one goal, a fact not lost on coach Craig MacTavish.

"We haven't, as a team, been able to dominate anybody. It's time for us to realize that," he said. "It was hidden in the record but that is over."

Thursday's game starts a trip that has the Oilers playing seven games in 12 days, capped by a contest against the New York Rangers on Nov. 10.

If overcoming a dormant offense doesn't present enough of a challenge, Edmonton also will be trying to end an eight-game losing streak against the Predators (4-4-1). The Oilers haven't beaten Nashville since March 5, 2006.

Ales Hemsky is the Oilers' leader with six points, but has yet to score a goal while offseason acquisition Erik Cole has no goals in his last five contests and only one this season.

MacTavish has a decision to make on his starting goaltender for Thursday. Mathieu Garon allowed six goals in his first three starts before giving up 10 in his last two games. Roloson, meanwhile, has stopped 66 of 70 shots in his two appearances.

Neither has had much success against Nashville (4-4-0). Roloson is 2-5-0 with one tie and a 2.64 goals-against average while Garon is 2-5-0 with a 4.20 GAA.

The Predators came to life after a slow start and salvaged a point from Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss at Washington. Jason Arnott scored twice and J.P. Dumont had three assists for Nashville, which was outshot 19-4 in the first period.

"Obviously we want to get the win," coach Barry Trotz said. "But we'll take the point after the start we had."

Scoring hasn't been a problem for the Predators, whose 32 goals are among the league's highest totals. While Nashville has scored at least three goals in eight straight games, it has also allowed at least three in the past six contests.

Dan Ellis has had a rough start to the season, going 4-4-1 with a 3.28 GAA, but is 4-0 with a 2.00 GAA in four career starts against the Oilers.

Arnott and Dumont have both been very productive versus Edmonton. Arnott has four goals and three assists in the last five games against his former team while Dumont has four goals and five assists in that span.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 03 '09 EDM 5 at NSH 6 - OT J. Arnott
Feb 01 '09 NSH 2 at EDM 1 M. Erat
Dec 28 '08 NSH 2 at EDM 5 E. Cole
Oct 30 '08 EDM 1 at NSH 3 S. Weber
A. Hemsky9077-4000
S. Souray8246+0410
D. Grebeshkov9145-31000
S. Horcoff9314-2820
A. Cogliano9224+1201
R. Nilsson9224-1611
E. Moreau9134+3800
L. Visnovsky9213-2621
D. Penner9202+2201
E. Cole9112-42310
F. Pisani7112+1200
M. Pouliot9022-2000
S. Staios7101+3900
T. Gilbert9011-5400
S. Gagner8011+1400
J. Strudwick7011+0700
K. Brodziak9000-3000
S. MacIntyre6000-11200
Z. Stortini6000-32900
L. Smid5000-1700
M. Garon63-3-0191813.18.895
J. Deslauriers11-0-03293.00.897
D. Roloson20-1-14661.95.939
J. Dumont1021113+3400
S. Weber104711+51011
M. Erat10549+1411
J. Arnott7549+2431
R. Suter10178+31000
P. Hornqvist9235-2600
R. Jones8235+2210
J. Ward10224+4600
S. Nichol10134-1800
D. Legwand10134-1800
R. Peverley7134+0200
J. Tootoo10213-31701
J. Smithson10123+21300
K. Klein4123+3200
G. Zanon10112+2800
R. Bonk8112-1210
D. Hamhuis10022-41900
G. De Vries10101-41200
V. Koistinen6101+2210
N. Tarnasky3011+1500
V. Fiddler8000-3200
D. Ellis94-4-1292283.28.873
P. Rinne21-0-04363.24.889