By Amanda DiPaolo
Nashville Predators 26-15-6
Edmonton Oilers 14-25-7
Can the Predators shut down high-flying rookies like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle?(Associated Press)
The Nashville Predators, currently in fourth spot in the Western Conference standings, have found some success as of late. Only one other team in the NHL has as good a record as the Predators in their last 10 games. Philadelphia, leaders of the Eastern Conference, share the same 8-2-0 record. Nashville is 9-2-0 in the last 11 games, scoring 42 goals during that span.
Sunday night’s game will be the first meeting between the Predators and the struggling, rebuilding Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have lost four consecutive games and are coming off a 4-2 loss on Thursday night at the hands of the Dallas Stars.
Nashville has won two of three games on their current six-game road trip, most recently a 5-1 thumping of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. On the road, Nashville has gone 6-2-0 in their last eight games away from Bridgestone Arena. The team’s 15 road wins this season is tied for second in the League.
For the past couple of seasons, the Predators have found success against the Oilers. In both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns, Nashville won three-of-four games against Edmonton. Nashville also has a three-game winning streak at Rexall Place in Edmonton and are winners of 7 of the last 8 outings in Alberta.
Sunday’s game marks the end of a three-game homestand for the Oilers. Edmonton has lost the first two games at Rexall Place.
The game will also be the first of a back-to-back series the Predators are playing against Edmonton and in Calgary on Monday night. According to CBSsports.com, Rinne has his worst Western Conference statistics against those two teams with a 3.37 career GAA against Edmonton and 3.64 against Calgary.
After Monday’s game in Calgary, the Predators move on to Vancouver for a game on Wednesday before breaking for All-Star Weekend. Nashville returns home for a game against the Flames on February 1 at Bridgestone Arena.
Is Pekka Rinne a Vezina Trophy candidate? The Predators’ starting goaltender is just four wins away from tying the record for second amount of wins by a goaltender in franchise history, held currently by Mike Dunham with 81 wins.
Rinne is second in the League for save percentage (.930) as well as goals against average (2.09) and has allowed only one goal in six of his last nine games played, boasting an 8-1-0 record in that span.
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