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Game day preview: Predators vs Oilers (game 24)

The Predators return home to face the Edmonton Oilers after a disappointing road trip to the west coast. It's an exciting game for Preds fans as a plethora of players will play their first game in Gold. Nashville needs to bounce back as they have fallen ever-so-slightly out of the playoff picture and look to be in pretty awful form of late. The Oilers are also looking to save their season before playoffs fall too far out of reach. Currently third last in the west, Edmonton is 8-10-5. They are in a four game losing streak, compared to Nashville's three game losing streak. Both team's are obviously looking for the win. 

TV/Radio Coverage

Nashville: Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game

Los Angeles: SportsNet West and 630 CHED AM

Season Series

No Match ups this season

Line Up News

Starting Goaltenders:

Name W L OT GAA SV%
#35 Pekka Rinne 8 8 4 2.25 .914
#40 Devan Dubnyk 6 8 4 2.79 .917

Projected Nashville Scratches: #13 C Nick Spaling
IR #18 W Brandon Yip (upper body) and #75 D Hal Gill (lower body)
Conditioning Assignment: #24 Matt Halischuk

Projected Edmonton Scratches:  #44 D Corey Potter, #37 C Lennart Petrell

Projected Lines

Nashville (based on line rushes Wednesday)

#18 Zach Boychuk #12 Mike Fisher #27 Patric Hornqvist
#57 Gabriel Bourque #33 Colin Wilson #74 Sergei Kostitsyn
#11 Bobby Butler #15 Craig Smith #10 Martin Erat
#11 David Legwand #28 Paul Gaustad #16 Rich Clune
#6 Shea Weber #59 Roman Josi
#22 Scott Hannan #4 Ryan Ellis
#8 Kevin Klein #64  Victor Bartley
#35 Pekka Rinne
#30 Chris Mason

Edmonton

#4 Taylor Hall #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #14 Jordan Eberle
#91 Magnus Paajarvi #89 Sam Gagne #64 Nail Yakupov
#94 Ryan Smyth #20 Eric Belanger #14 Jordan Eberle
#28 Ryan Jones #54 Chris Vande Velde #13 Mike Brown
#15 Nick Schultz #19 Justin Schultz
#5 Ladislav Smid #2 Jeff Petry
#24 Theo Peckham #6 Ryan Whitney
#40 Devan Dubnyk
#34 Yann Danis

Thoughts on Both Teams

Predators: Barry Trotz promised changes to the lineup and changes have been made. It's not easy to piece the puzzle together at this point, Tennessean report Joshua Copper had Boychuk, traditionally a center, winging on the assumed top line with Fisher and Hornqvist in practice. Now Boychuk will likely need to move to a wing as the Preds will have 6 centers (Fisher, Wilson, Legwand, Boychuk, Gaustad and Smith) seven if you include probably scratched Nick Spaling. 

Obviously the lineups won't be set in stone after the first game. Whenever you add three players there are going to be some chemistry problems. But the team needs something, anything, to get a skip back in their step. Wednesday's practice also had Butler on the powerplay unit, another area of the team that needs rejuvenation. 

This is a back to back weekend for the Predators, as they set out to host Minnesota on Saturday. Trotz speculated that Rinne could play both games if deemed necessary, but tonight's game will be of some indication towards who starts Saturday.

Oilers: Edmonton is again setting out to prove that first round draft picks don't contribute automatically to success. Nonetheless, they have very good scorers on the top three lines, including 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov who plays on the third unit. Their speedy, young forwards should be of some test to the Predators defense. 

On the flip side, Edmonton's more or less weak D-pairings alongside inconsistent Dubnyk in nets will hopefully be the combination we need to get some scoring back. 

The Oilers are on a four game losing streak, including a shoot-out loss to Columbus, and a shutout against Detroit. Their game against Nashville is their 7th consecutive road game. They will have two more road games before they return to Edmonton. 

Los Angeles Kings' Players to Watch:

Name GP G A
#89 Sam Gagne 23 7 14
#4 Taylor Hall 20 4 15
#14 Jordan Eberle 23 6 11

Who scores the first goal of the game for Predators? Win a Preds player t-shirt, info here.

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