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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs Nashville Predators

Exciting OT finish in Vancouver has Oilers on two game win streak. Can they make it three with a victory against Nashville?

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (20-16-2), 6th, Pacific)

Nashville Predators (27-14-3, 2nd, Central)

27 January 2022

Rogers Place

7 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: On The Forecheck

MAKE IT TWO

Connor McDavid scored the overtime winner in Vancouver while Mikko Koskinen turned aside 25 of 27 shots to pick up Edmonton’s second win in a row. The Oilers also got markers from Leon Draisaitl and Ryan McLeod in a 50-shot effort against Canucks rookie goaltender Spencer Martin.

Back home in Edmonton, the Oilers look to make it three wins in a row as the Nashville Predators are in town. Can the Oilers grab the lead early in this one?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I’ve been a bit snake bit...I feel like I’m getting my chances but I haven’t been able to put one away, so it was nice to be able to contribute.”

Source

That’s Connor McDavid on his recent rash of bad luck, and how things might be changing.

McDavid recently endured three straight games without registering a point, which I believe is something that happened once last year. Hard times. Since then, he’s picked up four points (1-3-4) in his last two games, which brings him to within two points of the league leader and teammate Leon Draisaitl. In other words, things are looking like they’re getting back in order.

THE PREDATORS ARE SAYING

“That shot, it was unbelievable. You can see the determination he had behind that. Skating out, nobody was catching him, and he just wanted to rip on it. There’s not too many players that can do that in this league, and it’s impressive. I don’t know what kind of goal pace he is on, but he’s been huge for us.”

Source

That’s Predators defenceman Mattias Ekholm on teammate Filip Forsberg.

Forsberg picked up a goal and an assist in Nashville’s 4-2 win over the Seatle Kraken on Tuesday, he’s hammering out a near 24% shooting percentage.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

Let’s watch a goal.

  • Thought McLeod might have had a chance to start alongside McDavid based on Monday’s practice lines, but back to the third line he went. Didn’t matter so much for him, he picked up his fifth goal of the season on a goal that Spencer Martin would probably tell you he should have saved.
  • It took an injury to Tyson Barrie, but it ought to be getting pretty clear to Coach Tippett that Evan Bouchard ought to be a top option for the power play going forward. Bouchard spent 5:05 out of a possible six minutes while the Oilers had the advantage on Tuesday in Vancouver. Bouchard’s trajectory ought to give the Oilers a moment to think about things when Tyson Barrie is healthy enough to get back into the lineup.
  • Zach Hyman looks like he’s back in the lineup tonight on line three with Ryan McLeod and Zack Kassian. Kyle Turris was waived to free up a roster spot.
  • The Predators aren’t going to blind you with a barrage of goals, but they’re tight on defence and they’re keeping the puck out of the net with solid goaltending. They’re ranked eighth in goals against (2.7/G) and starting netminder Juuse Saros has a .926 SV% having played in 80% of Nashville’s games.
  • Mikko Koskinen will likely get the start once again tonight for the Oilers. His last two games have seen him stop 69 of 74 total shots, for a very small-sample-size .932 SV% over that period. The Oilers could always use a little more of that.
  • I missed this a couple days ago, but Mike Smith has been placed on LTIR as he recovers from a partially torn tendon in his hand. He won’t be eligible to come off until February 11th at the earliest, which...may push the Oilers toward a goaltender, who’s to say?
  • ONE TO WATCH: Filip Forsberg is on a tear this season. Everything is going in for him, he’s leading the Predators in goals scored with 21, though he’s missed some time due to being in Covid protocol. Look for him on the top line with Mikael Granlund and Matt Duchene.
  • MOVING UP? Oilers can be within two points of fifth place San Jose with a win tonight, though San Jose has plenty more games played. Oilers need to box together some wins to get back into the thick of things, tonight’s contest versus the Predators would be an excellent third win in a row.