After closing November on a positive note, the Edmonton Oilers have been rather middling during the first two weeks of December.
Perhaps Tuesday night’s road date with the Nashville Predators, against whom they’ve won seven straight, will help the Oilers rebound from their latest defeat.
It’s been an inconsistent season for Edmonton, which built some momentum with three straight wins to close November. However, after Monday’s 2-1 loss at Minnesota, the Oilers are 3-3 this month, and have been held to three or fewer goals in half of those games.
“I thought it was a competitive game,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said.
“We stuck with it until the final whistle.
“We’ll take the lessons that we learned from (Monday) and move on to Nashville.”
The Oilers last dropped back-to-back games on Nov. 21 and 23. Their most recent defeat against the Predators came on Feb. 25, 2019 — part of an 8-0-1 stretch in the series.
Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid, the NHL leader with 55 points, had his seven-game goal streak end Monday, but he did assist on Zach Hyman’s 10th goal. McDavid had two goals with two assists during a 7-4 home win over Nashville on Nov. 1.
He has 27 points in 17 career contests against the Predators, and four goals with eight assists during a five-game road point streak versus Nashville, which has been outscored 34-15 during its current 0-6-1 slide versus Edmonton.
Following Monday’s 1-0 overtime loss at St. Louis, the Predators have four goals during their current 0-2-1 stretch. With 25 shots against the Blues, Nashville has managed 29 or fewer in four of its last five contests.
“I thought, as a team, we played good defensively (on Monday), it’s just about that goal-scoring thing right now,” Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm told Bally Sports South. “Things don’t seem to go in for us, and we just have to keep working.
“We just need to get that icebreaker and get some goals going.”
Nashville’s Juuse Saros (2.93 goals-against average) made 23 saves Monday. He made 30 but allowed all but one of Edmonton’s seven goals last month. Meanwhile, Predators backup Kevin Lankinen (2.28 GAA) has stopped 74 of 77 shots while splitting his last two starts.
Teammate Filip Forsberg has a team-high 23 points, but none in the last two games. He posted a goal with two assists in that November loss at Edmonton but failed to register a point in his last three home games against the Oilers.
After Stuart Skinner (2.76 GAA) made 28 saves in his fifth consecutive start on Monday, teammate Jack Campbell could be in the Oilers’ net for this back-to-back scenario. Campbell, who has a 4.51 GAA while losing three of his last four starts — all on the road — stopped 25 of 30 shots during Edmonton’s 5-3 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 1.
Campbell also wasn’t that sharp while facing just 23 shots against the Predators during the victory last month. Teammate Leon Draisaitl had a goal with four assists against the Predators for his most statistically productive game of 2022-23.
Draisaitl has 30 points in 21 games versus Nashville, and a whopping 11 goals with two assists during his own five-game road point streak in the series.
–Field Level Media