The Nashville Predators rarely found the back of the net during the first two months of the season. It's been a much different story in December.
The Predators look to extend their winning streak to five on Tuesday when they face a Vancouver Canucks team trying to get back on track on its season-long, eight-game homestand.
After averaging 2.1 goals during a 6-6-1 October and 2.5 goals while going 9-4-0 in November, Nashville (22-11-3) is scoring 4.3 goals per game this month.
"Early in the year, we tried to play way too perimeter, a little too cute," coach Barry Trotz said after the Predators improved to 7-1-2 in December with Saturday's 5-3 victory at Calgary. "We got back to very basic hockey. Now it's throw some pucks on the net and go to the hard areas and you get rewarded. That's what most teams do in our league now."
Most teams in the league, though, haven't scored 23 goals in its last four games.
Martin Erat, who leads the Predators with 12 goals and 24 points, has provided a huge spike in production this month after totaling four goals and five assists in October and November.
Erat has eight goals and seven assists this month, including his second career hat trick and an assist in a 4-2 win over the visiting Canucks on Dec. 8. Erat also had a goal and an assist in the Predators' last game in Vancouver -- a 5-3 victory Jan. 28.
Patric Hornqvist, who scored his first goal in 12 games on Dec. 8 against Vancouver, was named the NHL's third star Monday after scoring a league-high seven points last week (four goals, three assists).
He had six goals and five assists in his first 31 games this season.
While the Predators are looking to get at least one point in their eighth straight road game (6-0-1), the Canucks (20-16-0) are trying to rebound from Sunday's 3-1 loss to St. Louis.
After defeating Southeast Division-leading Washington 3-2 on Friday, Vancouver scored it fewest goals in nine games at GM Place as defenseman Shane O'Brien scored his first goal since Nov. 8, 2007. The Canucks had averaged 3.2 goals in the first five games of their homestand.
"It's frustrating that we get a big win the other night and we can't back it up with another great game," Roberto Luongo said after making 23 saves. "We could talk about it until we're blue in the face in the locker room before the game, but talking about it and going out on the ice and executing are two different things."
Luongo has a 3.54 goals-against average in losing his last two starts against Nashville.
Dan Ellis, who is 3-0-0 with a 2.40 GAA in his last three starts, is 0-4-0 with a 4.24 GAA in his last four appearances against Vancouver.
If Pekka Rinne gets the start in net, he will try to win his third straight start versus the Canucks. Rinne made 34 saves in the Dec. 8 win as Nashville snapped a four-game slide at home to Vancouver.
After getting his nine-game point streak snapped Sunday, Canucks leading scorer Henrik Sedin will go for his first goal in 15 games against Nashville. Sedin, though, has nine assists during this stretch.