Just as the Edmonton Oilers appeared poised to overtake Vancouver for the top spot in the Pacific Division, they fell flat with back-to-back three-goal defeats against Arizona and San Jose. The Oilers will try to avert losing three straight in regulation for the first time since mid-December when they host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Edmonton was on a roll with points in 10 of 11 games (8-1-2) before getting shut out at Arizona (3-0) and blowing a two-goal lead in Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Sharks. "We have to stop this sooner rather than later if we're going to have a successful season," forward Zack Kassian said. "We haven't lost any ground in the standings but we also haven't gained any." The Predators have been gaining ground in the postseason chase with wins in four of their last five games to pull within one point of Calgary for the second wild card. "We're a confident group. We need to make a push," captain Roman Josi said. "We're not happy with where we are, but we're feeling confident and we're excited to make that push."
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (26-20-7): Mikael Granlund delivered the game-winner in overtime at Winnipeg (2-1) on Tuesday before scoring one goal and setting up another in Thursday's 3-2 victory at Calgary. Granlund has come alive offensively since John Hynes took over behind the bench, scoring five goals in his last eight games. "When pucks are going in, that's when the confidence comes," Granlund said. "But at the same time, I've been out there a lot, getting a lot of minutes and chances. You just try to take advantage of that."
ABOUT THE OILERS (28-20-6): Leon Draisaitl, who tops the league with 83 points, scored a pair of goals and added an assist in a 4-2 win versus Nashville on Jan. 14 but he was held off the scoresheet and was a minus-5 in the last two games. It marked the first time he has been blanked in two straight games since Nov. 27-30. Captain Connor McDavid scored against San Jose to reach 30 goals for the fourth consecutive season and had three assists against the Predators last month to give him 12 points in 11 career meetings.
1. Predators F Filip Forsberg scored in last month's meeting to give him nine goals and 15 points in 15 games versus Edmonton.
2. The Oilers are 1-for-8 on the power play over the past four games but were 2-for-4 versus Nashville last month.
3. Nashville has won four in a row on the road, all coming by one goal.