NHL: Streaking Oilers hope to stop playing from behind vs. Preds
The Edmonton Oilers will eye a fifth straight win when they host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Edmonton has trailed in three of its past four wins, including Saturday’s victory against the Calgary Flames in which they faced a 2-1 deficit in the third period.
“You don’t like being behind, but I think we’re one of the teams out there that can come from behind,” forward Zach Hyman said after scoring twice against Calgary. “We have enough skill and our ability to score goals, we’re confident in that. I think we’re not deterred by a deficit. We don’t like to be down, but when we’re down, we have a lot of belief in the locker room that we can get back to even and win the game.”
The Oilers have been among the NHL’s best teams offensively, averaging 3.78 goals per game. Through nine games, they’ve been held to two goals or fewer only twice, both coming in losses (4-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 18 and 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 22).
While Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have unsurprisingly led the way, Edmonton is also getting the goods from Hyman, who is tied for third on the team with 11 points. His six goals rank second behind McDavid.
The Predators have struggled since returning from Prague, where they opened their season with a pair of wins against the San Jose Sharks. Nashville is 1-5-1 since and heads into Tuesday’s tilt after a 3-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
The Predators’ offense has yet to find its rhythm, held to one goal or fewer in four their past seven games. Overall, they rank near the bottom of the NHL with 22 goals scored through nine games, an average of 2.44 per game. Last season, the team finished tied for 12th with an average of 3.2 goals per game (262 total).
One contributing factor in their offensive struggles has been a woeful power play that has converted on only three of 36 opportunities thus far, a meager 8.3 percent success rate.
“We’re always looking for solutions, and obviously the power play is one part of it,” coach John Hynes said. “It’s trying to find a way and find solutions where we can get that to be better. I think there’s real capable guys on there and they’ve proven that they can be a dynamic power-play unit. But right now, it’s not going in for them and I think that’s where you got to have some — I think some mental toughness and some stick-to-it-iveness, but also a collaboration.
“You know what needs to change and yield the areas that can be better … The second part is going out and executing it at a high level.”
It’s been a slow start for Predators captain Roman Josi. After a remarkable 96 points (23 goals, 73 assists) last season, the defenseman has four points through nine games, three of which (one goal, two assists) came Oct. 27 in their win against the St. Louis Blues.
–Field Level Media