After a hard fought battle and win in Calgary, the Nashville Predators have found themselves on the hunt for a fifth-straight road win tonight in Edmonton.
The Oilers have some serious weapons at hand, so let’s take a look at some key players and make some predictions for tonight as the Predators look like one of the hottest teams in the NHL on the road.
When you hear the team name Edmonton Oilers, most think of the famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky. Edmonton has had some of the world’s best players to wear or have worn their jersey, so it’s no doubt that Nashville is in for a hard fought game tonight.
Mach 5 centerman
McDavid is arguably one the best forwards in the league, and his hands match his speed. He has tallied 30 goals and 50 assists for 80 points so far this season. To say that he is a playmaker is an understatement.
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One of the abilities that makes McDavid so deadly is his speed. If he slips past the defense on a breakaway or odd man rush, then go ahead and tally a goal on the board. His speed with his puck handling abilities is tough for even a seasoned veteran to stop, let alone the Predators defense who is still developing under John Hynes.
The Predators lost already once on the road to the Oilers this season, and it was just less than a month ago. McDavid notched three assists in the 4-2 for the Oilers. This still remains the only road loss since Hynes took over as head coach.
If Nashville is going to stop McDavid, and other players such as Leon Draisaitl and James Neal, then their defense is going to have to play smart and strong. Edmonton’s speed is unmatched, and this could be a problem for Nashville if they don’t limit mistake and turnovers.
Granny and a prince
Nashville has the capabilities of scoring on any team, but with the trade deadline coming up, and rumor mills going around that he may be traded, Mikael Granlund has been tallying goals and assists in recent games that can only lead us to believe that there may be a spark ignited under him that has yet be seen.
Granlund with Filip Forsberg will keep the pucks on net tonight, and with Matt Duchene working his way to living up to offseason hype, he needs to be feeding pucks and generating some creative offense with his IQ. I talk about it all the time, but Duchene and Forsberg are at the point of a breakout.
Forsberg leads the Predators in goals with 18, while Duchene is second on the team with 24 assists. Both of these players are capable of breaking out at any moment, and if they do so at the same time then we’re in for a lot of goals.
The past and future
Nashville fell to Edmonton last month 4-2 in what was a frustrating time for Nashville with Hynes fresh in his new job. Now that the team has had time to regroup and understand what Hynes is wanting form them, look for a team who is ready for sweet redemption tonight.
This will be a high-scoring, fast-paced game tonight, and goalies will be tested. Nashville hasn’t been the best this season about protecting their goalie in net, but there has been some work in progress. This is going to be another tough challenge defensively for Nashville, just like the last meeting.
My final prediction is Nashville wins 5-4. They’re looking for redemption and are hot on the road this season. Desperate hockey will be played tonight, and Edmonton will not hand over a win easily.
Goaltenders have to be sharp as well. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves on 31 shots faced in the last meeting. Not terrible numbers by any means, but it will be another tall order against the Oilers and their offensive weapons.
Puck drop tonight is at 6 P.M. CDT. Game will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee, or you can find it on the Fox Sports GO app. Will the Predators be back in a playoff spot after tonight’s games conclude? It’s a realistic possibility.