Predators @ Edmonton Oilers (Game 29): Preview

The Nashville Predators end their Western Canadian road trip before heading to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers. The Predators are ranked 10th in the Western Conference with a 11-11-6 record and 28 points. The Oilers are 10-11-6 with 26 points and ranked 14th in the West. Puck drops at 7:07pm CT.

TV/Radio Coverage

Nashville: Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game

Edmonton: Sportsnet-West and 630 CHED

Season Series

Date Away Home Result
3/8 EDM NSH 0-6 NSH

Line Up News

Starting Goaltenders:

Name W L OT GAA SV%
#35 Pekka Rinne 10 8 5 2.20 .916
#40 Devan Dubnyk 7 9 5 2.74 .918

Projected Nashville Scratches: #4 D Ryan Ellis, #23 W Zack Boychuk and #28 C Paul Gaustad (upper body); #27 W Patric Hornqvist (IR; upper body), #33 C Colin Wilson (IR; upper body) and #75 D Hal Gill (IR; lower body)

Projected Edmonton Scratches: #20 C Eric Belanger (questionable; groin), #24 D Theo Peckham, #28 W Ryan Jones (questionable; flu), #37 W Lennart Petrell and #56 C Teemu Hartikainen; #25 D Andy Sutton (IR; knee) and #45 D Mark Fistric (IR; elbow; questionable)

Projected Lines

Nashville

#15 Craig Smith #12 Mike Fisher #10 Martin Erat
#57 Gabriel Bourque #11 David Legwand #19 Bobby Butler
#18 Brandon Yip #13 Nick Spaling #24 Matt Halischuk
#16 Rich Clune #17 Chris Mueller #74 Sergei Kostitsyn
#6 Shea Weber #59 Roman Josi
#8 Kevin Klein #64 Victor Bartley
#22 Scott Hannan #7 Jonathon Blum
#35 Pekka Rinne
#30 Chris Mason

Edmonton

#28 Ryan Jones #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #14 Jordan Eberle
#83 Ales Hemsky #10 Shawn Horcoff #4 Taylor Hall
#91 Magnus Paajarvi #89 Sam Gagner #64 Nail Yakupov
#20 Eric Belanger #94 Ryan Smyth #13 Mike Brown
#5 Ladislav Smid #2 Jeff Petry
#6 Ryan Whitney #19 Justin Schultz
#15 Nick Schultz #44 Corey Potter
#40 Devan Dubnyk
#35 Nikolai Khabibulin

Thoughts on Both Teams

Predators: Nashville is in trouble. In the past two games, they have given up a combined thirteen goals. The defense is not there and is leaving Pekka Rinne out to dry, who has been pulled in two consecutive games for the first time in his career. Expect Barry Trotz to make a few lineup adjustments entering Sunday's game in Edmonton.

Scott Hannan and Martin Erat have been mediocre. Hannan has been making bad decisions and is slow to the puck. His confidence appears to be gone. Erat hasn't been producing as much as he should as of late. His puck control and decision making has been terrible. 

The bright side is the Bourque-Legwand-Butler line. They are in sync and have been producing goals as unlikely candidates. Gabriel Bourque has been on a tear as of late by scoring a goal in each of the last three games.

The three keys to the game for the Preds are 1) Defense first; 2) Support Rinne; and 3) Better control of the puck.

Oilers: Edmonton and Nashville are in a similar place right now, struggling to find wins. The Oilers are 2-4-2 in their last eight games. After being brutally embarrassed in the Music City in their first meeting 6-0, Edmonton would love to return the favor.

The young guns for the Oilers haven't panned out as well this season as many have hoped. People say Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle have been slow to start the season because of their difficult adjustment from the AHL. However, that doesn't leave excuses for Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov.

Edmonton currently sits four points of out playoff position, with one more game played than the eighth ranked San Jose Sharks. In order to get to that 8th spot, they would have to jump six other teams, which isn't an easy task.

Edmonton Oilers Players to Watch:

Name GP G A
#4 Taylor Hall 24 6 19
#89 Sam Gagner 27 11 15
#94 Ryan Smyth 26 2 6

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

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