Nashville Predators: Turn the Page, the Edmonton Oilers are in Town

Nov 1, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan McLeod (71) looks to make a pass in front of Nashville Predators forward Colton Sissons (10) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan McLeod (71) looks to make a pass in front of Nashville Predators forward Colton Sissons (10) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been a turbulent 48 hours for the Nashville Predators organization after the fallout of sending Eeli Tolvanen to waivers, and subsequently losing him for nothing, while also suffering another defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues.

Tolvanen was sent to waivers on Sunday, and to no one’s surprise didn’t clear. He was claimed by the upstart Seattle Kraken.

The Predators lost 1-0 in overtime to the Blues on Monday. A gritty performance defensively despite two players making their team debuts in Kevin Gravel and Roland McKeown. However, yet again the Predators came up empty on the power play and wasn’t able to manufacture anything offensively.

At 5v5 play, the Predators more than doubled the Blues in High Danger Chances with 11 to the Blues only having five. Gravel hadn’t played an NHL game since the 2019-20 season, and McKeown since all the way back in 2017-18.

Gravel and McKeown, a makeshift defensive pairing that’s not ideal for the Predators, held their own at 5v5 play with 6:57 of action and allowing an Expected Goals Against of 0.14, per MoneyPuck.

Depleted Nashville Predators get McDavid and Company

Today the Nashville Predators are on a difficult back end of a back-to-back as they host the Edmonton Oilers at Bridgestone Arena. Their only other meeting of the season came on November 1 when the Oilers exploded for seven goals, with four of those coming in the first period and Juuse Saros being left in the entirety to give up six goals.

The Oilers currently have the NHL’s top power play, connecting on an astounding 30 percent of their opportunities. They will absolutely roast the Predators if it’s another parade to the penalty box.

On the flip side, the Oilers have a rather pedestrian penalty kill that ranks 27th in the NHL. Problem is, as we all fully are aware of by now, the Predators can’t be counted on to make even the worst penalty kill units pay.

Robby Stanley of 102.5 The Game laid it out rather candidly and unfiltered in regard to just how putrid the Nashville Predators are at generating offense and thriving on the power play like they did last season:

The Blues entered Monday’s matchup with the Predators with the worst penalty kill in the NHL, but they went 4-for-4 in that critical facet of the game that ended with just one goal being scored.

Head Coach John Hynes told Emma Lingen of the team’s official website that he though the power play had some good looks but wasn’t “threatening” enough.

“I thought the power play had some chances, but it’s got to be more threatening. I thought Ekholm’s unit had some really good looks and I thought with Josi’s unit that he had some good looks himself” -Head Coach John Hynes on the Preds Power Play

We’ll probably see Kevin Lankinen get the start today against the Oilers. He has been one of the few bright spots on this Nashville Predators team as Saros’ backup, but he will be up against Goliath against an offensive juggernaut that is the Edmonton Oilers.

At some point, you have to start seriously wondering how all of this talent on paper isn’t producing reliable goal scoring. Is it more of a systematic issue from coaching philosophies? I think that is a very fair question to put out there.

A Matchup of Nightmares for the Preds against the Oilers 

You have a better chance of finally connecting on a powerball lottery ticket than the Nashville Predators do at beating teams like the Oilers with this current formula that is failing to even hit three goals in a game.

The Predators have scored two goals or less in five of their last seven games, miraculously managing to still go 3-3-1. Stranger things have happened, but it will take a gem of a performance in net from Lankinen and a disciplined showing to stay out of the penalty box for the Predators to hang around on the scoreboard and make it close.

It’s important to note that the Oilers are also on the second game of a back-to-back and were held in check to one goal in a loss to the Minnesota Wild on Monday. That probably means they’ll come in like gangbusters and take it out on the Predators.

Preds Sending a Bad Message to Players and Prospects. dark. Next

Team Leaders

Goals: Preds (Niederreiter 10)  Oilers (McDavid 25)

Assists: Preds (Josi, Duchene, Forsberg 15)  Oilers (McDavid 30)

Points: Preds (Forsberg 23)     Oilers (McDavid  55)

Hits: Preds (Jeannot  99)   Oilers (Puljujarvi  64)

PIM:  Preds (Lauzon  37)     Oilers (Nurse  26)

Perhaps the offensively starved Predators can take advantage of a shaky goaltending situation for the Oilers. It’s not their strong suite, but they’ll likely turn to Jack Campbell, according to the team website’s pre-game report.

The Nashville Predators have lost seven in a row to the Edmonton Oilers, their last win in the series coming in February 2019 when Brian Boyle scored the game-winning shootout goal.

As bleak as things seem currently, somehow the Nashville Predators are treading water and not that far back in the standings. They’re four points out of a wildcard spot and five points behind third-place Minnesota in the Central Division.