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Oilers v. Predators - Job 17:1-5

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Our spirit is crushed.
We're laying here on life support,
and our enemies are waiting to pick our bones.
We're surrounded by mockers,
rival broadcasters chortling at our pain.

You must defend us, O God,
for the NHL has turned on us!
You let them prioritize money over expertise,
but do not let this deal destroy us completely!
They have betrayed their friends for their own advantage,
so punish them over this next decade, O God!
Give them the TV coverage that they deserve!

Edmonton Oilers @ Nashville Predators

Bridgestone Arena, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Our New Hockey Overlords

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Nashville Predators are exactly the kind of team the Oilers expected to beat this year. They're not one of the powerhouses of the Western Conference, they don't have much skill up front, and while their defense and goaltending is strong, they can't beat you if your forwards are constantly playing with the puck in their zone. It hasn't worked out. The Predators are still eking out more wins than losses despite scoring the fewest goals in the Western Conference, and the Oilers haven't been able to turn all of their skilled individuals up front into a coherent attack, which combined with poor goaltending and an insufficient defense, has left them last in the Conference in goals allowed. Are the Oilers a better team than Nashville? Not yet. But they'd better be awfully soon.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (7-16-2):

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Yakupov - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Gordon - Perron
Jones - Arcobello - Joensuu

Grebeshkov - J Schultz
Ference - Petry
N Schultz - Belov


Nashville Predators (13-10-2):

Wilson - Fisher - Nystrom
Bourque - Legwand - Stalberg
Spaling - Cullen - Smith
Clune - Gaustad - Hendricks

Weber - Josi
Jones - Klein
Bartley - Ellis


By The Numbers:

  • Seth Jones is having an excellent rookie season, and is likely one of the frontrunners for the Calder Trophy. Jones has been impressive, playing significant minutes at even strength, on the power play, and on the penalty kill, totaling 23:26 per game. Jones hasn't been a monster in terms of possession yet (the club has a Fenwick percentage of 48.1% with Jones on the ice), but the Predators certainly haven't been providing him with much cover (54.5% of his end-zone faceoffs have come in the defensive zone).
  • This has to be one of the most unlikely goaltending matchups of the season in the entire NHL. At the start of the season, the chance of having Bryzgalov in goal for the Oilers against Mazanec for the Predators would have been less than one percent. So the next time someone tells you that the Oilers have virtually no chance of making the playoffs, take heart; that stuff sometimes happens!
  • The Oilers have virtually not chance of making the playoffs. Even just getting to a points percentage of 50% is looking awfully tough. That would require the Oilers to go 30-21-6 over the rest of the season (that's a 95-point pace over a full season). Hard, but doable. If I'm Dallas Eakins, that's what I start talking about now as the team's goal. If they can do it, that should put them in a positive frame of mind heading into next season.