Predators, facing Senators, look to bring road form home

The NHL’s hottest road team looks to finally get rolling on home ice when the Nashville Predators host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

The Predators are on a five-game winning streak, with all five victories coming away from home. It marked the first time in franchise history that Nashville went unbeaten on a road trip of at least five games.

Nashville was only 1-4-1 in its six games heading into the road trip, and goaltender Kevin Lankinen described that slump as “a good wake-up call for us.”

“We kind of realized what we need to do to be a winning team, and this was a huge, huge week for us playing some good opponents on the road,” Lankinen said. “Tough road trip, so the boys are feeling good but still being humble and keeping working at it.”

While the Predators’ 18-10-2 road record is one of the best in the league, success in Nashville has been harder to find. The Predators need to win on Tuesday just to bring their home record (14-15-0) up to the .500 mark for the season.

Filip Forsberg collected six points (three goals, three assists) during the Predators’ road trip. Teammate Thomas Novak has four points (one goal, three assists) over a four-game points streak.

Juuse Saros should be back in the Predators’ net on Tuesday. Saros has been particularly sharp of late, posting a 3-0-0 record, a 1.67 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage in his past three games.

The perfect road trip lifted Nashville back into a playoff position. The Predators hold the second Western Conference wild-card slot, with a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild.

Ottawa is looking to bounce back quickly after taking a 6-3 road loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday. Each team scored twice within the first 13 minutes, but Washington took the lead for good with two goals within a 14-second span late in the first period.

“They won the game, but I feel we beat ourselves tonight,” Senators defenseman Jake Sanderson said. “We’ve been playing some really good hockey lately. One loss tonight doesn’t define that. So, (we have to) be a goldfish, forget about it quick and just learn from it.”

The Monday defeat ended Ottawa’s four-game points streak (3-0-1). Though reaching the playoffs remains a long shot, the Senators have quietly amassed a solid 10-4-3 record in their past 17 games.

Brady Tkachuk leads the Senators with 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) over that 17-game stretch.

Goalie Joonas Korpisalo was expected to face Nashville in the second game of the Senators’ back-to-back set, but he ended up playing 40 minutes in a relief effort against the Capitals. Starting goaltender Anton Forsberg was pulled during the first intermission after allowing four goals on 10 Capitals shots.

Artem Zub is questionable Tuesday after missing Ottawa’s past two games with a lower-body injury.

Ottawa is 3-2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

The Senators earned a 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Predators on Jan. 29. Nashville held a 3-0 lead after the first period, but Ottawa fought back and secured the two points on Claude Giroux’s OT winner.