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Oilers @ Predators Game 16 Preview

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Edmonton looking to close out road trip with three wins in five games. They'll have to vanquish a red-hot Predators club to do so.

Just another day at the office for Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators
Just another day at the office for Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators
Steve Alkok-USA TODAY Sports


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@

Nashville
6-8-1, 13 points, .866 p/g Ranks 9-3-2, 20 points, 1.428 p/g
Western Conference - 12th Western Conference - 3rd
26th P/G 4th
18th ST 24th
27th ES 2nd
28th Goal 4th
6 PM MDT - SNW
Bridgestone Arena
The opposing view:  On The Forecheck

Much respect to those who served and those who currently serve the nations of Canada and the United States on this Remembrance Day / Veteran's Day.  There are no words of thanks that could ever equal the sacrifices you've made for our nations.

Three's A Crowd

Edmonton played their most complete game so far this season in taking down the Rangers on Sunday by a score of 3-1.  The Oilers got the early lead when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins buried his fifth goal of the year.  The Rangers tied it up when Carl Hagelin notched one for the Rangers nearly ten minute later, but things were going so well for the Oilers that Benoit Pouliot got of the schneid by scoring his first goal of the season, a pretty little thing from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  Teddy Purcell would later add an empty net marker, it would be enough for the Oilers to sail out of Madison Square Garden with two points in the standings.

With absolutely no snark intended, the Oilers played a very good game in New York City.  They outshot the Rangers by a wide margin, player deployment was a little bit better (okay, Keith Aulie played only 13:29, that's a start), and goaltending held strong throughout the game.  If you can get this every night, you might start to get some more wins than losses.  Might.

The heat's likely to get turned up for this evening's match in Nashville

The Oilers are saying

Man, I wish I would've caught this when it happened.  This tweet has since been deleted from Dallas Eakins' twitter account.  So everything's good between Yakupov and Coach, right?

The Opponent is saying

"This is an important one for us to make sure we're ready to go and prepared to play that same style (as on the road) and be ready to battle.  It's a huge game for us"

A crispy 9-3-2 start to the season for the Predators has them feeling good, no doubt.  Last time we met with Nashville, you may remember that they weren't pumping many goals, and averaging just over 2.4 goals a game (only 23rd in the league) it still looks like they're not doing enough scoring.  So what's going on out there?  Pekka Rinne's playing with a .935 SV% in twelve games, that's a good start.  The team's GAA is exactly 2.00, so there's not a lot of pucks getting behind Rinne.  Predators rank twelfth in shots allowed with just under 29 per game.

Have some of this
  • Is Taylor Hall back yet?  It's been ten days.  Come on, healthy ligaments.
  • Andrew Ference made his return to the Oiler lineup on Sunday in Madison Square Garden.  Ference logged 22 minutes of ice time, and didn't give the puck away.  I'll take a muted performance over one I loudly remember for all the wrong reasons.  Martin Marincin caught the press box upon Ference's return, it wouldn't surprise me to see the same again today.
  • Viktor Fasth picked up his second win of the year in NY, turning aside 20 of 21 Rangers shots.  I'm bewildered the Rangers were only able to lob 21 shots on this team's defence, but I'm not arguing. Fasth has looked good over the last two games, and I'd expect Coach to go with the hot hand today. I'm also not against this, as there's been a day's rest in between Sunday and today.
  • Mike Ribeiro is on that top line in Nashville, and he's got eleven points (3-8-11) in 14 games.  The Predators have scored 35 goals on the season, which makes Mike Ribeiro a point-getter in over 30% of Nashville's goals.  Not bad for a one year deal at a million.
  • Benoit Pouliot scored his first goal of the season in a two point night on Sunday.  Any more in that bag of tricks tonight?
  • IS ANYTHING CHANGING?  Ask again after tonight. The Oilers had a 52 shot outing during Friday's 3-2 victory against the Sabres, but the Sabres' entire team would have dificulty beating a decent AHL squad at the moment.  The Oilers played their best game of the season on Sunday, and the Rangers had just got done playing the Leafs in a 5-4 heartbreaker the night before.  Were the Rangers tired?  Quite possibly.  Were the Oilers better?  Yes, very much.  Can they give Nashville a go for their money?

PROJECTED LINES

The Edmonton Oilers

Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Mark Arcobello - David Perron

Iiro Pakarinen - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nikita Niktin - Jeff Petry

Keith Aulie - Mark Fayne

Viktor Fasth

The Nashville Predators

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal

Matt Cullen - Derek Roy - Craig Smith

Gabriel Bourque - Calle Jarnkrok - Olli Jokinen

Eric Nystron - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Anton Volchenkov - Seth Jones

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne