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Predators @ Oilers Game 10 Preview

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Oilers vie for fifth consecutive victory as Nashville stops by for a spell

Mike Ribeiro is second in scoring for the Predators with six points (3-3-6) in eight games
Mike Ribeiro is second in scoring for the Predators with six points (3-3-6) in eight games
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


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@

oilers logo black text
5-1-2, 12 points, 1.5  p/g Ranks 4-4-1, 9 points, 1 p/g
Western Conference - 2nd Western Conference - 12th
4th P/G 22nd
11th ST 24th
13th ES 21st
3rd Goal 28th
8 PM MDT - SN1
Rexall Place
The opposing view: On The Forecheck

Four On The Floor

The Oilers put just 19 shots on Montréal's Dustin Tokarski, but they are able to slink away with a shutout victory over the Canadiens.  Goals from Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov get the Oilers to a two goal lead, then Taylor Hall sends one home while the net is empty.  The Oilers are on a four game winning streak after opening up the season winless in five (0-4-1).

The Oilers will play their sixth game of their seven game home stand tonight against the Predators, where they'll improbably try to attain their fifth victory in a row.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"You shouldn't be surprised...He's part of our hockey team and has earned the right to be in this lineup"
I'll admit, I went through a few emotions during this nine game tryout period.  First, I thought there was no chance he'd be sent down.  I mean, come on, they didn't acquire a second line centre the entire summer, what makes you think they'd do it now?  To win?  Pshhhhh.  Then as it looked like he was behind a couple of steps, the team went 0-4-1, it became a feeling of "Oh my God, they're sucking his soul out, get him back to Prince Albert".  Now that the team is at .500 on the back of Ben Scrivens, Eakins says that we "shouldn't be surprised" that he's here past game 9.

Last week (when the walls were tumbling down), it seemed all but certain that he'd be headed back to PA.

The Opponent is saying

It's a big road trip for us with a lot of games and you need to start on a good note.
That's Nashville centre Mike Ribeiro on starting a roadie on the right foot.  

Pekka Rinne is busy being Pekka Rinne, free agent aquisition Mike Ribeiro appears to have settled in nicely so far (3-3-6 in 8 GP), Anton Volchenkov is busy being...Anton Volchenkov,  and the Predators have taken at least a point in all but one game so far this year.  They're leading the Central Division (you know, the one with Chicago and St. Louis in it) and they're coming off their first regulation loss of the year after dropping a home game to Pittsburgh.

I'm sure they'll be in a good mood tonight.

Have some of this
  • Last time we talked, Viktor Fasth was practicing with the club.  You know who else is practicing with the club?  Luke Gazdic.  Eakins appears to not change his lineup when the team wins, so here's hoping the Oilers never lose again.  At least, for the next two years, righto?
  • BEGONE YOU, HUNT - I've had just about enough of this one.  Bring me the services of Oscar Klefbom.  Hunt's got a killer cannon, but that's all the nice things I can say.  With Nikita Nikitin having an MRI yesterday for back spasms, I don't like his chances to appear in the lineup for this game. What does it mean?  Hunt will likely be in tonight.  Maybe they'll pair him with Ference.  *ducks*
  • FREE AGENT AQUISITIONS - Mike Ribeiro (3-3-6) and Derek Roy (0-4-4) are making roughly a million bucks each this year. They're also Nashville's one and two centres, respectively.  You know where I want to take this.  I'll just let you do it on your own.
  • TANK'S A LITTLE DRY : Nashville's doing just fine at 5-1-2, but they've got just nineteen goals on the year.  That's not too many in nine games.  It's 2.25 goals per game, actually.  Fractional goals are the toughest to score.
  • SCRIVENS' STAYING POWER:  Regression, your friend.  This is unlike Regression, Your Worst Enemy (that comes later this season, maybe sooner than you think).  Ben Scrivens' first four games were.. well, not very good. (A quick side note, the team wasn't very good either, but you knew that.) Edmonton's last four games have all been Ws, and Ben Scrivens is trotting out a .940 SV% during that time.  (Unsustainable?  You bet.)  We're going to need a dozen or so more games to accurately gauge where this team is, but I got a sneaky feeling that they're going to do more than a little leaning on the goaltending this year.
  • I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS:  Good on Nail Yakupov scoring a goal in Edmonton's 3-0 victory over the Canadiens on Monday.  It's the easiest and quickest way to keep journos quiet after they ask you about your defence for the five thousandth time in two years.
  • RARE AIR- The Oilers are at a statistical .500.  Is that different from a regular .500?  In my mind, a little, but that's because they've won four games and technically lost five.  They've got nine points in nine games, and that's not bad.  Getting to .500 wasn't much fun to start, but it's been a little more fun to watch as of late.  More importantly, it's fun to not be last in the league.  Thanks, Buffalo. Remember that flirtation with the playoff race during the 2013 short season?  That was fun.  This club may or may not do that again, but for now, enjoy the ride.

PROJECTED LINES

The Nashville Predators

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal
Colin Wilson - Derek Roy - Craig Smith
Olli Jokinen - Calle Jarnkrok - Matt Cullen
Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck

Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Anton Volchenkov - Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Teddy Purcell - Leon Draisaitl - David Perron
Benoit Pouliot - Mark Arcobello - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Brad Hunt - Justin Schultz
Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin - Mark Fayne

Ben Scrivens