After earning at least a point in 10 straight games, the Nashville Predators have struggled to score in back-to-back defeats against Western Conference foes. A matchup with the struggling Ottawa Senators may be what they need to get back on track.
Nashville returns home, where they've won five of six, Thursday night to host Ottawa.
The Predators (17-10-6) had a five-game winning streak and 8-0-2 stretch snapped Saturday in a 6-1 loss to Los Angeles, then committed multiple defensive mistakes and fell 4-1 in Chicago on Wednesday.
Prior to losing to the Kings, Nashville had scored at least three goals in eight of nine games. Now, it's been held to one goal or less in two straight for the first time since Nov. 22-24.
"That was not one of our better performances this year," coach Barry Trotz said following the loss to the Blackhawks.
Rookie Anders Lindback, who started despite Pekka Rinne returning to the roster for the first time in nine games, committed a costly turnover which led to Chicago's first goal. Lindback has gone 6-2-1 with a 2.08 goals-against average and two shutouts filling in, but Rinne -- 1-1-0 with a 3.47 GAA against the Senators -- is likely to start.
Nashville also may get a boost returning to Bridgestone Arena, where they've earned a point in 13 of 15 games (8-2-5).
While the Predators have fallen behind early in the past two games, Ottawa hasn't been able to hold early advantages.
The Senators (14-17-4) let four leads slip away in a 6-5 overtime loss Friday against Colorado, then allowed three unanswered second-period goals in a 3-2 loss Sunday to Washington, allowing the Capitals to end a season-high eight-game losing streak.
"We got the start we wanted, (the Capitals) got some good breaks early in the second and that's five minutes we would like to have back, but that's the way it goes," captain Daniel Alfredsson.
Ottawa has lost five of its last seven, but the Senators' last three defeats have been one-goal losses against teams either first or second in their respective divisions. Nashville is currently second in the Central.
"We've showed signs where we've played really well, especially against some of the better teams," Alfredsson told the team's official website. "It's just that we haven't been able to put it together for as long a period of time as we would like."
Brian Elliott, who made 31 saves against Washington, likely will start his third straight game for Ottawa, which is 2-5-1 in its last eight on the road. Coach Cory Clouston said Pascal Leclaire is close to returning from a lower-body injury, but won't be ready to face the Predators.
The Senators ended a three-game losing streak in Nashville with a 2-0 victory Feb. 16, 2009.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.