AT THE MORNING SKATE:
The Oilers took to the ice for morning skate shortly after 10am, but without Gilbert Brule. Head Coach Pat Quinn later confirmed that the forward has been sidelined with the flu for the fourth time this year.
"We're trying to do some further study on why the frequency. The past two days, he decided to practice yesterday but came in ill, and this morning was the same."
Brule is not expected to play tonight, and as a result, Jean-Francois Jacques should skate with Patrick O'Sullivan and Ryan Potulny.
The plan vs. the Predators
Tonight's game vs. Nashville will be the Oilers first opportunity to employ what they've learned at this past weekend's "mini-camp." The Oilers participated in intense video, off-ice, and on-ice sessions, and Quinn hopes that the efforts pay off in tighter systems and, ultimately, a win.
"The system is our guideline," Quinn said. "That's your plan for success. When you give up the plan you haven't got much of a chance because that's when ad-libs start and excuses start and failure starts. We have been a team that's given up the plan on a lot of nights when we've met adversity out there. Every team, 30 teams, hit adversity in very game and we aren't the team that has been able to fight through it."
Defenceman Tom Gilbert called tonight's game a test.
"This will be a good test for us to see if the effort we put in this weekend pays off," he added. "It's got to start from somewhere, and we've only got 30 some games left, take it a game at a time, and hopefully the video and the system play we worked on in practice will pay off."
PREDATORS (27-16-3) at OILERS (16-23-5)
Last 10: Nashville 5-5-0; Edmonton 1-8-1
Season series: Third of four meetings this season, with each team already having won on its opponent's home ice. Tough guy Zack Stortini turned goal scorer with a pair of tallies in a 6-1 Edmonton win on Oct. 12. Patric Hornqvist returned the favor on Dec. 17 with a pair of goals in a 6-3 Nashville victory.
Big story: In the four days since a 4-2 home loss to the Blue Jackets, another team that had been struggling, the Oilers conducted a mini-camp of sorts Friday and Saturday. They took Sunday off before returning to the ice for a regular practice on Monday.
"They worked hard," coach Pat Quinn said. "I haven't had much to gripe about in that area because they do practice and they're trying hard to make themselves better. Hopefully we can take that into the game."
"Four days isn't going to make a major difference I don't think, because we have some room to go as far as becoming a team. But maybe we've made some steps that way. We hopefully can sustain our game for a longer period of time than we have in many of them."
Predators: Special teams and a strong goaltending effort from Dan Ellis spelled a 3-2 victory for Nashville as it started a three-game road trip through Western Canada in Vancouver on Monday. Shea Weber scored the go-ahead, power-play goal with 4:03 left for the Predators. Ryan Jones also tallied with the man advantage and Joel Ward had a shorthanded goal in his return after missing the last two games with a wrist injury. Ellis finished with 30 saves.
"We played a lot better tonight that we had in the last couple of games," Preds defenceman Dan Hamhuis said. "We had a better mental approach."
Oilers: Since winning five straight road games to begin the month of December, the only time Edmonton has emerged victorious since was a 3-1 triumph over Toronto on Dec. 30. The Oilers are 0-3-1 since, part of what led to their two-day mini-camp.
"We had a few meetings during that mini-camp, we watched a lot of videos, and the coaches want us to be on the same page," defenceman Denis Grebeshkov said. "That was the point of that mini-camp. So I guess we learned a lot during those two or three days and all we have to do is show that during the game."
Who's hot: Steve Sullivan has a goal and five assists during a five-game points streak and has taken the Predators' scoring lead with 30 points. Weber has two goals and seven assists in his last seven games. Ellis has allowed two goals or less and made at least 30 saves in each of his last three starts.
Sam Gagner has a goal and three assists during a four-game points streak for the Oilers. Grebeshkov has a goal and two assists in his last two games.
Injury report: Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed a second straight game Monday with an upper-body injury. Forwards Jordin Tootoo (broken foot) and Jerred Smithson (broken hand) are on injured reserve.
Edmonton has goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (back) and forwards Marc Pouliot (sports hernia), Mike Comrie (mononucleosis) and Ales Hemsky (shoulder) on injured reserve, but defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky plans to return from a sprained ankle to play Tuesday.
"I'm ready to go," Visnovsky said Monday. "The coach gave me the chance -- I'm ready to play."
Stat pack: The Predators have identical .938 winning percentages when leading after one and two periods, respectively. … Dustin Penner leads the Oilers in goals (20), assists (20), points (40), plus-minus (plus-9), power-play goals (5) and shots (130).
Puck drop: Nashville actually has a slightly better points percentage on the road (13-7-2) than at home (14-9-1) and proved last month it won't be intimidated by a trip to Rexall Place.