Preds aim to stay hot vs. lowly Oilers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The free-falling Edmonton Oilers will try to halt their lengthy losing streak and pick up their first win this season against a Western Conference opponent when they visit the Nashville Predators for Thursday's clash at Bridgestone Arena.

The Oilers have dropped a season-high seven straight games, and the last five setbacks during the 0-6-1 stretch have come in regulation. Edmonton also is 0-5 against Western Conference clubs during the slide and is 0-11-1 within the conference this season.

Nashville already owns a 2-0 record against Edmonton in 2014-15, and the Predators can sweep the season series with another victory tonight. The clubs have split the past six encounters overall, but the Oilers have lost three of their last four tests in Music City.

Edmonton's current skid actually began with a loss in Nashville, as the Preds posted a 3-2 home victory on Nov. 11. Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period before holding on for the win.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 21 shots for Nashville. The Predators star goaltender has won both games versus Edmonton this season and lifetime is 11-6-1 with a 2.83 goals against average in this series.

The Oilers' most recent setback came Tuesday in Dallas. Tyler Seguin notched a pair of goals for Dallas and John Klingberg added a goal and an assist to help the Stars beat Edmonton, 3-2.

Klingberg opened the scoring in the first period by fooling Edmonton goaltender Viktor Fasth with a rising slap shot from just outside the Oilers zone. Boyd Gordon answered with a short-handed goal later in the first for Edmonton, but Seguin tallied twice in the second period to put Dallas ahead for good.

"This league is too close to give other teams chances and goals like that," Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said. "The game was there for us. We could've easily had both points."

Taylor Hall notched the 100th goal of his career in the loss, cutting the deficit to 3-2 less than six minutes into the third period.

Fasth stopped 30 shots in the loss, which came one day after the Oilers fired goaltending coach Fred Chabot and replaced him with Dustin Schwartz. Fasth is 2-5-1 with a 3.32 goals against average this season and Ben Scrivens hasn't been any better, going 4-9-1 with a 3.35 GAA.

Scrivens could get the start tonight and is 1-3-1 with a 2.39 GAA in five career games against Nashville. Fasth is 4-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in five lifetime tilts versus the Preds.

Edmonton is in 30th place in the NHL by virtue of one more regulation loss than the Columbus and Buffalo. All three teams have 14 points.

The Predators, meanwhile, are tied for first atop the Central Division and have a chance to pull ahead of idle St. Louis tonight.

Nashville has won four of its last five games and is 2-0 so far on four-game homestand. The Preds are coming off Tuesday's close victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions, downing the visiting Los Angeles Kings after a lengthy shootout battle.

James Neal netted the lone goal in the shootout, as Nashville outlasted the Kings, 4-3. None of the first 10 shooters were able to put the puck into the net, but Neal opened up the sixth round by beating Martin Jones between the pads. Rinne then closed off the lane along the ice to deny Dwight King's chance and end the contest.

"It felt like a playoff atmosphere here tonight," Preds forward Colin Wilson said.

Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis and Eric Nystrom tallied in regulation for the Predators, who have won seven of their last nine overall and four straight on home ice. Rinne ended up with 18 saves and improved to 14-3-1 with a 1.97 GAA this season.

Nashville, which completes its homestand Saturday against Columbus, boasts a stellar 8-1-1 record on home ice this season.