The Nashville Predators begin their five-game road trip tonight taking on the Edmonton Oilers.
So far Nashville has picked up seven points in nine games. Since the beginning of the season in Bern and Prague, the Predators are 1-5-1.
A contributing factor to the below .500 record is penalties. Nashville is No. 30 in the NHL on the man advantage with 36 opportunities (5th most in NHL).
Nashville is currently on a six-game losing streak against the Oilers last beating them in Feb. of 2019 winning 3-2. In the six losses, the Oilers have outscored the Predators 27-11.
Prior to the team departing from Nashville defenseman Jordan Gross was recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals. The reigning AHL defenseman of the year has seven points through six games in Milwaukee.
Subsequently, defenseman Mark Borowiecki was placed on injured reserve on Monday after his awkward collision with the boards back on Oct. 22 during a home game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
“He’s had some history with head injuries,” Predators GM David Poile said on 102.5 The Game today. “We’re going to have to be very cautious and careful in terms with how we proceed with him in terms of his future and getting him back into the lineup.”
As far as elite forwards go the Oilers are set. Through Edmonton’s first nine games, four of their forwards have double-digit points. Connor McDavid leads all NHL skaters with 19 points while Leon Draisaitl has 16.
According to Quant Hockey, this dynamic duo has led the NHL in points in the last five seasons with 459 and 425 points respectively. McDavid has played 287 games while Draisatil has played 298 games in this time frame.
Although they don’t play 5-on-5 together often their powerplay is lethal when consistent. The Oilers have had 33 opportunities on the man advantage so far and have scored 11 times.
Kicking off the road trip against a team leading the league in powerplay goals will be a tall task for the Predators.
He’s not afraid to stir it up with the opposing team’s toughest players either. Last season Kane had 25 minor penalties in 48 games played following his suspension.
This season Kane is tied for the most penalty minutes on the Oilers with 14 and is third in the NHL with seven minor penalties.
Nurse leads all defensemen with five points but Barrie is the most beneficial on the powerplay. Barrie has four points on the man advantage with one goal and three assists. He’s typically on the first powerplay unit alongside Draisaitl at the blue line.
In the net, Edmonton welcomed Jack Campbell to the club over the offseason after signing a five-year $25 million contract after playing three seasons in Toronto. Tonight will be Campbell’s fourth game against the Predators.
Backing him up is Stuart Skinner who has impressed in his three starts this season. Skinner is 2-1 and leads the NHL with a .955 save percentage. The 24-year-old goaltender has six goals against making 134 saves.
Skinner played against the Calgary Flames on Saturday making 40 saves en route to a 3-2 victory.
Projected Oilers lineup
Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Foegele – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Holloway – Ryan – Shore
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Bouchard
Niemelainen – Barrie
lineup according to Daily Faceoff