EDMONTON OILERS (27-28-5) at
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (31-23-7)
6:08 p.m. MST
Rogers Sportsnet West
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Predators Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
Following a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers hope to continue their recent trend of winning two games then losing once tonight in Nashville.
Last game, the Oilers and Canucks battled in a penalty-filled game full of emotion. Even though the Oilers came out on the losing end of a 4-2 score, the multitude of fights helped bring the team together as they head down the stretch this season.
One of the teams in Edmonton's sights when it comes to securing that last playoff spot is tonight's opponent, the Nashville Predators. The Oilers are 10 points behind the Predators but they do have a game in hand and two more head-to-head meetings with their Western Conference rivals starting this evening.
Nashville is sixth in the conference right now with Calgary and Vancouver seven points up on the OIlers and tied for seventh in the West.
The Preds are 1-1-1 in their last three games, dropping a 6-1 decision to Chicago, beating St. Louis 2-1 in overtime and falling 5-4 to Minnesota in O.T.
This is the third of four meetings this season between the Predators and Oilers. Nashville won the previous two, by scores of 4-1 and 5-2.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (1:26 PM):
Joni Pitkanen returns to the lineup tonight while Mathieu Roy (bruised sternum) will sit this one out. Mathieu Garon starts in goal once again.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Edmonton's leading scorer all-time against the Predators is Ethan Moreau Moreau has 10 goals and 16 points in 31 career games versus Nashville. The Oilers visited the Preds in early January in what was Moreau's third game back after missing 113 due to injury and he scored a goal that night... Ales Hemsky
scored Edmonton's lone goal against the Predators on November 2 and did not play the January contest. Hemsky has five goals and 12 points in 14 career games against Nashville... In four games as an Oiler, Curtis Glencross has three assists and a +4 along with 20 penalty minutes... Sam Gagner
has picked up points in six straight games - a career high. He has a goal and seven assists in that time.
PREDATORS TO WATCH:
Neither of Nashville's goaltenders have ever lost to the Oilers in their career. Dan Ellis has won both starts this season with a 1.50 GAA. Chris Mason is 2-0-0 in his career versus Edmonton with a 2.50 GAA... Former Oiler Martin Gelinas has 11 goals and 21 points in 38 career games against Edmonton. Another former Oiler, Jason Arnott, has also done well in his career versus his former team. Arnott has seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 20 games against the Oilers. This season, Arnott has two goals and three points in two games... Alexander Radulov has two goals in two games this season against Edmonton and five goals in six career games... Edmontonian Vern Fiddler has also done well against the Oilers. He has four goals and six points in seven career games including a goal this season.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (hip flexor) is probable. Mathieu Roy (bruised sternum) is doubtful. Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Nashville – Steve Sullivan (back) is out.
Nashville has more points than any other NHL team since the start of 2008, going 13-5-5 for 31 points in their past 23 games. They are 8-2-2 on home ice in that same time... Nashville allows the fewest number of penalty minutes per game in the NHL at 11.5. The Preds received only three minor penalties in their last two games... Edmonton was once in the top three but recent penalty-filled games against Vancouver and Calgary have sent them plummetting to 24th in the league at 14.9 average PIM per game... Nashville has scored 68 goals in the third period this season which leads the Western Conference and is third in the NHL. The Predators have put together four three-goal periods in the last five games, most recently in the third period on Sunday in Minnesota.
The Other Side
- Did You Know? - The Predators have the Western Conference's most prolific third period offense this season with 68 third period goals. ...more
- Tootoo's Back! - The Predators activated forward Jordin Tootoo off Injured Reserve prior to Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild. To make room on the 23-man NHL roster, the Predators reassigned forward Rich Peverley to Milwaukee of the AHL. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Cal Nichols on Oilers Live this Thursday - Former Edmonton Investors Group Chairman Cal Nichols will be the guest on Oilers Live this Thursday at 1:30 p.m. MST. Follow the link to ask a question...
From the Wire
The Nashville Predators' strong play at home has helped them overcome a sub-.500 road record and stay in the playoff mix.
Looking to bounce back from a tough road loss, Nashville goes for its seventh straight win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night in the start a three-game homestand.
The Predators (31-23-7) fell 5-4 in overtime to Minnesota on Sunday - their fourth defeat in five road contests. Nashville rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits, but gave up the game-winner with five seconds left in the extra period.
"Against the Wild, you tend to feel you don't have a chance sometimes when you fall behind," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "I just let them know, I've seen this team do a lot of good things, and this team - we're going to get a point out of (Sunday's game).
"They showed their resiliency and character and just stayed with it."
Ryan Suter and Martin Erat each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who have earned at least one point in four of their last five games overall.
Nashville has won six of its last eight at the Sommet Center, and boast one of the NHL's best home records in the NHL at 19-9-3. Only league-leading Detroit has more wins on its home ice with 21. The second-place Predators, though, trail the Red Wings by 20 points in the Central Division.
Location hasn't made much of a difference for Nashville when facing the Oilers (27-28-5) recently. The Predators have won six straight in the series since the start of last season, and four consecutive home wins since Nov. 8, 2005 - including a 5-2 victory on Jan. 3.
The Predators' top scorers, Jason Arnott (54 points) and J.P. Dumont (53), each contributed a goal and an assist in that win. In their careers against the Oilers, Arnott has seven goals and 10 assists in 20 games, while Dumont has three goals and seven assists in 14 contests.
Dumont's status for this game is unknown after missing two straight with the flu.
Against the Wild, goaltender Chris Mason lost for the third in time four starts. Though he's 2-0-0 with a 2.51 goals-against average in his career against the Oilers, rookie Dan Ellis has gotten the nod in both games against them in 2007-08.
Ellis, who is 4-0-1 with a 1.87 GAA in his last six appearances, has limited Edmonton to just three goals.
With a win, the Predators will move past idle San Jose into fifth place in the Western Conference.
The Oilers, who are in the midst of a four-game road trip, failed to record their third straight win after dropping a 4-2 decision to Vancouver on Saturday in a fight-filled contest. Marty Reasoner and Kyle Brodziak scored for the Oilers, who totaled 101 penalty minutes against their division rivals.
"It was just two teams playing good aggressive hockey and both teams realized how important the game was and clearly form the outset it was going to be a physical game and that's the way it ended," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose team has lost just twice in six contests. "I was fine with that."
Brodziak has four goals during a three-game run, while rookie Sam Gagner has one goal and seven assists in his six-game points streak. Neither center has registered a point against Nashville.
Edmonton's Mathieu Garon, who made 22 saves versus the Canucks, has allowed eight goals while losing both his career starts in Nashville.