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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Nashville Predators

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Oilers back home hosting penultimate game prior to All-Star Week

Edmonton Oilers v Nashville Predators
Nuge is yelling at everyone.
Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (24-17-5) 5th, Pacific vs

Nashville Predators (21-16-7) 5th, Central

14 January 2020

Rogers Place

700 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: On the Forecheck

3-1-1

Save for all of the Zack Kassian shenanigans last game, the Oilers concluded a fairly successful five game road trip. Edmonton took seven of a possible ten points over their last five games, though Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Flames was especially frustrating. The Oilers have another chance to jump back into the top three of the Pacific Division with a visit from the Nashville Predators tonight. Can the Oilers pick up two points tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“That’s a playoff game. Fun for the fans. We just come up on the short stick. Frustrating, for sure. We had chances to tie it late. We had chances in the third. I thought we pushed hard in the third. We didn’t end up winning, but that game is not going to make us or break us. Frustrated we’re not leaving here with two points but there’s still a lot of hockey left”

Source

That’s Oilers forward Zack Kassian on his club’s 4-3 loss to the Flames on Saturday night.

Zack Kassian will miss tonight’s game and Saturday’s game against Arizona after an altercation with Calgary’s Brady Tkachuk. Josh Archibald was getting looks on the top line yesterday at practice.

THE PREDATORS ARE SAYING

“The more work we get in, the more comfortable we get with the change of systems and the better we’ll be. Hopefully there’s more time to work moving forward”

Source

That’s new Predators coach John Hynes after his club’s 1-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

Hynes was named Preds head coach on January 7th. The Predators have gone 2-1 in his short tenure. Nashville has had a somewhat disappointing run so far, they’re four points behind the Oilers in the chase for the second wild card position.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • ETC: The Oilers are once again clinging on to a wild card spot. The Jets are right outside Edmonton’s 53 points (they’ve got 52), while the Predators are just a bit further back with 49. The good news? A win tonight puts Edmonton back into the top 3 in the Pacific. No pressure.
  • ONE, TWO: Connor McDavid (71 points) and Leon Draisaitl (70 points are still holding onto the one and two spots in the scoring chase. The Bread Man rises to 67 points, while Boston’s David Pastrnak and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon are one back of Artemi Panarin (66 each)
  • ROMAN HOLIDAY: Defenceman Roman Josi leads Nashville in scoring (14-32-46) in 44 games. The pair to watch up front is Matt Duchene ((10-20-30) and Filip Forsberg (15-16-31).
  • NOT THOSE PREDATORS: It’s been somewhat of a tough season for the Predators. I can’t recall a recent time this late in the season where Nashville was outside looking in. They’ve got no trouble scoring goals (they’re sixth in the league averaging 3.39 per game), but they rank just 23rd in goals against (3.23 per game on average). Goaltending absolutely is a contributing reason as to why the Predators have struggled.
  • NET GAINS: Mike Smith (10-9-3, .900 SV% / 3.00 GAA / 1 SO) is set to get the start tonight for the Oilers. The Predators are likely to counter with Pekka Rinne, who has struggled quite a bit this season (14-9-3, .894 SV% / 3.06 GAA / 3 SO). They may opt to run with Juuse Saros, who put up a 28 save shutout against the Jets on Sunday.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers will be without Matt Benning (concussion) and Zack Kassian (suspension). Colton Scissons, Ryan Ellis and Dante Fabbro are all day-to-day with various ailments for the Predators.