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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Nashville Predators

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Oilers head out to Nashville looking to pick up a pair of points on the road

Winnipeg Jets v Edmonton Oilers
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Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (34-23-7) 2nd, Pacific vs

Nashville Predators (32-24-8) 5th, Central

02 March 2020

Rogers Place

6 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: On The Forecheck

TWO MORE POINTS

Hey, keep on winning. Now’s the time to do it.

Powered by a three point night for Leon Draisaitl (2-1-3), the Oilers took care of the Winnipeg Jets in the comfy confines of Rogers Place. Leon Draisaitl scored his 100th, 101st and 102nd point en route to the win, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the game winner for the Oilers. Goaltender Mike Smith turned aside 39 of 41 shots from the WInnipeg Jets, who took it to the Oilers for the final two frames. The Oilers take two points, they’re on the road tonight in Nashville.

The Oilers could be getting a couple of critical pieces back in the lineup tonight. Will Oscar Klefbom and Kailer Yamamoto make it back for tonight’s matchup?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

He wants to be a top player, he drives himself. In December, when our team was struggling a little bit, he was almost trying too hard, he was trying to do too much and putting himself in trouble. Now he knows he is a big part of our team and has to play well and do his part. He is just a beast out there, in all situations too. It’s not just power play; it’s penalty kill and face-offs. He is a beast out there.

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett on Leon Draisaitl.

A three point effort for Draisaitl (2-1-3) helped propel the Oilers over the Jets on Saturday night. Leon Drasaitl finished a fantastic February. He scored 23 points in 14 games, and was named the NHL’s First Star of the Month.

Not too bad for a guy who just scored his 102nd point before the beginning of March.

THE PREDATORS ARE SAYING

I think at some points we have, but I still think that’s another area for us that we’re trying to improve and get more, where you have opportunities to be able to possess the puck, shoot, recover, get seconds and extend offensive zone shifts more. I think the last couple games we had some parts of it, but it is something that we are addressing and trying to get a little bit better at here.

That’s Predators coach John Hynes on his team’s contribution on offense.

The Predators sit right on the Western Conference playoff cut line at 72 points. They are 6-3-1 over their last ten.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • The Oilers are looking forward to the return of two players. It’s no secret as to who these players are. Kailer Yamamoto needs to get back from his ankle injury as soon as possible so that he can fill out that second line, while Oscar Klefbom needs to get back soon to reclaim his spot as the top D. Auditioning Alex Chiasson or Zack Kassian in the top six isn’t a really great spot to be in right now, and it’s pretty apparent that Nurse needs some minutes shaved from his TOI. UPDTATE: Yamamoto is a go. He’ll be on the 93/29/56 line that causes so much havoc for opponents. Klefbom? Not yet.
  • Nashville is right in the middle of things when it comes to scoring goals (3.14 G/G). The problem? They’re averaging just as many as they’re scoring (3.14). They’ve won 32 games this year. They’ve lost 32. Purely a coincidence.
  • Leon’s next goal with be his 40th. Having already eclipsed the 100 point mark, 50 goals remains firmly in view.
  • Defenceman Roman Josi currently leads Nashville with 60 points (15-45-60) in 64 games played. Up front, Filip Forsberg (18-25-43) and Matt Duchene ((12-27-39) are the top point getters. Forsberg and Duchene are often on seperate lines; look for Nashville to continue to employ the same strategy tonight.
  • NET GAINS: Mike Smith (18-10-6, .905 SV% / 2.87 GAA / 1 SO) picked up a big win for the Oilers on Saturday when he turned aside 39 of 41 shots from the Jets. Mikko Koskinen (16-13-2, .911 SV% / 2.89 GAA / 1 SO) could get the start tonight, his last action was a 3-0 loss against Vegas on Wednesday. The Predators are likely to counter with Juuse Saros ((14-11-4, .907 SV% / 2.89 GAA / 2 SO).
  • SICK BAY: Joakim Nygard (hand) and Mike Green (knee) are out for the Oilers. Kailer Yamamoto and Oscar Klefbom are game time decisions, while James Neal (foot) remains day-to-day. The Predators do not have any injuries listed at this time.
  • THE PACIFIC
http://nhl.com/standings

Only Calgary gained points in the playoff chase yesterday. The Kings knocked off Vegas in regulation, while the Canucks coughed up what looked like a sure win versus Columbus. Not every game can be “must win”, but the Oilers could put some pressure on Vegas with a win against Nashville tonight.