Your Nashville Predators take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight at 7:00 CST at Bridgestone Arena. Let’s see how these teams stack up.
- Predators 13-10-2 (28 pts) 5th in the Central
- Oilers 7-16-2 (16 pts) 7th in the Pacific
- Predators 4-1-0
- Oilers 3-2-0
- Goals per game – Preds 2.4 (23th) – Oilers 2.6 (18th)
- Goals against – Preds 2.7 (17th) – Oilers 3.5 (29th)
- Power Play % – Preds 21.5 (8th) – Oilers 20.7 (11th)
- Penalty Kill % – Preds 84.0 (10th) – Oilers 82.6 (15th)
The Preds have hit their stride lately and are playing their best hockey of the season. Offensively, the Predators have got back to an aggressive forecheck and it has started to pay dividends. The forecheck has been effective in creating turnovers and allowing the Preds to increase their puck possession in the opposing end. The Preds have also done a better job of getting to the net and finding rebounds. A number of recent goals have been the result of Nashville forwards attacking the net after the initial shot and creating havoc for the opposing defense and goaltending.
Defensively, the Preds have started to play more responsibly in their end. Earlier in the season we were seeing a lot of goals against and defensemen looking around afterwards to try to figure out what happened. That has not been the case lately. A change in defensive pairings has helped as well, Seth Jones and Shea Weber are playing better separately and the return of Roman Josi has improved the top pair.
You cannot talk about the Preds’ recent play without mentioning Marek Mazanec. He has made 8 consecutive starts and looks like he has saved the Preds’ season and playoff chances. He is now sixth in the league in both goals-against-average and save percentage, ahead of Pekka Rinne in both categories.
The Oilers have also started to pick up their game lately, with three wins in their last five games, after posting only one win in the previous eleven games. It has been a little quieter on the trade front too, as trade rumors swirled around the Oiler’s young star Nail Yakupov earlier in the season. Yakupov is still a team worst minus 15, but he has started to contribute more on the offensive end and those contributions have led to wins for the Oilers. Yakupov has points in five of the team’s last seven games, including the three wins.
The other big roster news in Edmonton was the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov. He was called up earlier this week after a stint in the AHL to make sure he was in game shape. Devan Dubnyk has handled the lion’s share of goaltending duties lately, starting ten in a row. However, he was pulled in the Oiler’s last game which opens the door for Bryzgalov to get his first start of the season against the Preds.
Prediction – Predators 4-1. Another strong offensive showing from the Preds.
Scott Gardner is the Editor at Predlines.com and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @scottcgardner. For the latest updates in Predator news, follow @PredlinesNSH and like Predlines on Facebook.
See for yourself if the Preds can match the prediction and pull off another strong offensive performance. Get your Nashville Predators tickets now!