The Predators' offense could be getting a huge boost right before the playoffs with a possible return of Alexander Radulov. No matter what happens with the Russian forward, Nashville still has to be encouraged by its recent play.
The Preds continue their quest for home-ice advantage in the postseason's opening round as they battle the Edmonton Oilers tonight.
Nashville has gone 4-1-1 over its past six games, snapping a two-game slide on Sunday with a 3-1 victory in Anaheim to move into a tie with Detroit for the fourth seed in the Western Conference with 92 points. The Predators have 10 contests left in the regular season and will use their game in hand tonight over the Red Wings, who are idle after losing last night to the Capitals.
The Predators tallied three times in the third period to rally past the Ducks on Sunday. Mike Fisher had the game-winner, Patric Hornqvist also scored and David Legwand tallied into an open net in addition to posting an assist.
"This was a big win for us," said Legwand. "We need all the points we can get right now to get as good a spot in the playoffs as possible."
Martin Erat tallied his 300th career assist and has two goals and seven points over his past four games, while backup goaltender Anders Lindback made 30 saves for his first victory since Dec. 11. Lindback had lost six straight decisions while spelling starter Pekka Rinne, who is tied for the league lead with 39 wins.
Nashville, 12-1-2 in its past 15 games at home, is tied for eighth in the league with 2.81 goals per game and could add another weapon if Radulov returns to the states. The 25-year-old left the Predators with one year left on his initial pro contract following the 2007-08 season to play in his native Russia in the KHL.
However, there has been recent speculation as to his pending return to the Predators and Nashville general manager David Poile issued a statement on Monday saying that the club has been in contact with Radulov's agent and that there is every indication that the forward will return to the Predators "in the near future."
Radulov had 26 goals, 32 assists and 58 points in 81 games with the Predators in 2007-08.
The Oilers won't have to worry about playing against Radulov tonight and will instead concentrate on playing spoiler. Edmonton had a two-game win streak snapped with a 3-2 shootout loss on Sunday to Phoenix despite taking a two- goal lead into the third period.
Jordan Eberle and Alex Hemsky scored second-period tallies for Edmonton, losers in seven of its last 10, while Devan Dubnyk made 40 saves. The Oilers fell to 21-3-2 when leading after two periods.
"It's very frustrating. It seems to be the story of our season, being up by two or one going into the third and losing. Two mistakes and ultimately is cost us the game and the two points." said Eberle, who has 32 goals this season and five points in his past three games.
The Oilers, who begin a four-game road trip tonight, were playing for the first time since star forward Taylor Hall suffered a concussion on a hit against Calgary on Friday. Hall, who has 27 goals and 53 points this season, is out indefinitely.
The Oilers won their first two games this season versus the Predators by a 9-3 margin before suffering a 2-1 setback at home on Nov. 28. They have lost nine of their past 12 in Nashville.