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NHL: 4 things to watch for Wednesday

10/29/2014 11:42 EDT | Updated 12/29/2014 05:59 EST
The Edmonton Oilers are shooting for their longest winning streak in 18 months as they host the Nashville Predators in one of two Wednesday night games in the NHL.

Detroit and Washington, with identical records through eight games, meet in the other match-up.

Oilers riding hot goalie

When the Oilers (4-4-1) limped home after an early three-game road swing, they had one point for the season from four games. They played better but lost at home to Vancouver, 2-0 and just when things started looking desperate they turned it all around.

Ben Scrivens got hot in goal. The Oilers young guns, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins suddenly started scoring.

Games 2-5 in a seven-game home-stand all resulted in wins, each one a little more decisive than the last. They shutout Montreal 3-0 in their last start Monday. 

Wednesday they meet the Nashville Predators, a team they swept in last year's season series. In fact, they've had a great deal of success against the Predators, fashioning a 7-3-0 record since the 2011-12 season.

Hall, with four goals and three assists in his last seven games, has 12 points in 11 career outings against Nashville.

Nugent-Hopkins has produced 11 points in his last 10 starts against the Predators.

A win Wednesday would match the five-game win streak the Oilers produced from March 26 to April 3 in 2013.

Predators struggling

The Predators (5-1-2) concluded a three-game homestand with a 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh, their first loss in regulation this season.

A worrying trend is that they've surrendered the first goal in six of their last eight games.

Pekka Rinne has accounted for a lot of the Predators goaltending success with a 5-1-1 record and  1.81 goals against average. However, he's only 2-4-0 lifetime versus Edmonton, with a 3.30 GAA.

Mike Ribeiro, over from the Arizona Coyotes, is one Predator who's done well against the Oilers, notching three goals and five assists in his last three games in Edmonton.

Matt Cullen has been activated from the injured reserve list after missing eight games with an upper body injury.

Red Wings battling tough schedule

The Red Wings (4-4-2) have faced a tough schedule right out of the gate, meeting playoff teams in six of their first eight encounters. So far, they're doing pretty well with 10 points and strong penalty killing and netminding has been the reason for their success.

Detroit killed off the first 25 power play opportunities against them until the Philadelphia Flyers broke through Saturday, in the Red Wings' 4-2 loss.

They've benefitted from the return of Pavel Datsyuk who picked up assists in his first two games and a goal against the Flyers after starting the season on the injury list.

Jimmy Howard has been the main-stay in goal with a 1.95 goals against average and a 3-1-2 record in the early going.

Capitals need to get Ovechkin going

Braden Holtby, expected to start in goal for the Capitals (4-4-2), has posted numbers similar to Howard. His goal-against average is 1.92, with a 3-1-1 record. 

Washington penalty-killers, however, gave up two goals in Sunday's 4-2 loss in Vancouver.

Of greater concern is a four-game dry spell for Alex Ovechkin after the Capitals' sharpshooter opened the season with five goals in the first four games.

The Capitals are hoping to replicate last year's success against the Red Wings when they popped in four power play goals in eight chances in their final two games against Detroit.

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