Preview #64: Predators Begin Final Swing Through Western Canada

By Amanda DiPaolo

Season Records

Nashville Predators 32-23-8

Edmonton Oilers 20-35-8

Predators are looking to make it two in a row on Tuesday night (Getty)

The Nashville Predators snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena when they edged Columbus 3-2. Tuesday night, Nashville tries to make it two in a row when they begin their final swing through Western Canada this regular season.

The Edmonton Oilers have lost their last two starts and Nashville will try to make it five wins in a row at Rexall Place. The Predators enjoy a 15-3-0 record in their last 18 games against the Oilers, but it was Edmonton that got the best of Nashville the last time the two teams met on February 7th.

The Oilers shutout Nashville 4-0, a loss the Predators wish they could have back given how tight the Western Conference standings continue to be.

A loss in Edmonton would make the road back to the post season just a little more of an uphill battle with upcoming games against some of the best teams in the League including two against Vancouver and Detroit, as well as a game against the  Boston.

The battle of special teams are always a must win for the Predators when they play the Oilers. Pekka Rinne has a goals against average of 3.34 goals a game against Edmonton. One way to counter Edmonton’s ability to score on Nashville is for the Predators to simply score more goals. The team will want to continue its success on the power play. The Predators had a successful month of February on the power play scoring at least one power play goal in eight out of twelve games, finishing 8-for-36 (22.2 percent).

Before the start of the month, Nashville had scored on the man advantage only 24 times in 174 opportunities (13.8 percent) in 50 games.

Taylor Hall shared the lead in goals for Edmonton with Dustin Penner, who was dealt to Los Angeles on Monday afternoon before the trade deadline. Hall has 21 goals. Nashville didn’t make any roster moves Monday before 2 pm, but injuries mean the makeup of the two teams look different nonetheless.

The Oilers are without Nikolai Khabibulin who has an eye infection and has been placed on injured reserve. Taylor Chorney is out with a right knee injury and  Ryan Whitney is out for the rest of the season after suffering an ankle injury at end of December that required surgery. Theo Peckham is listed as questionable for Tuesday game according to TSN. Pechkam suffered a head injury.

The Predators have some new faces in the lineup because of their injuries. Tennessee’s Blake Geoffrion has played his first two NHL games over the weekend. Matt Halischuk has also been recalled and played in both games over the weekend. The recall of Geoffrion and Halischuk was made necessary when Steve Sullivan was placed on injured reserve because of a groin issue.

With the Predators missing its firepower in Matthew Lombardi,  Marcel Goc and Cal O’Reilly, it is a perfect opportunity for future of the Predators organization to show that they are supposed to be the now of the Predators organization.

Francis Bouillon continues to remain out of the lineup as a result of a concussion. Jonathon Blum has taken his spot on the blue line. The Predators traded Alexander Sulzer to the Florida Panthers for a conditional 2012 draft pick.  

 

Milestone Achieved

Nashville Head Coach Barry Trotz was behind the bench on Sunday for his 965th game, moving him past Hall-of-Famer Jack Adams (964 with Detroit) and into fourth place on the games coached with a single team list. Al Arbour (Islanders – 1500), Lindy Ruff (Buffalo – 1046) and Billy Reay (Chicago – 1012) are ahead of Trotz on the list. 

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Tags: Dustin Penner Edmonton Oilers Hockey Nashville Predators NHL Pekka Rinne Shea Weber Taylor Hall

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