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EDMONTON OILERS (17-20-4) at
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (18-18-2)
Start Time: 6:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Edmonton/Nashville Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics After ending a six-game winless streak last night, the Edmonton Oilers can get back in the playoff hunt with a win tonight against a team that is also on the outside looking in to the postseason right now.
Both the Oilers and Nashville Predators sit at 38 points right now. After last night's thrilling overtime win over the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton can finish this four-game road trip with a respectable 2-1-1 record if they can defeat the Predators tonight.
LAST GAME: Oilers 3, Blues 2 (OT)
After a tough start to the season that saw them lose six straight games at one point in October and open with a record of 2-6-0, Nashville recovered to pick up points in 10 of their next 11 games (8-1-2) but in December it was back to their losing ways for the Predators.
Nashville lost seven of eight en route to a 6-9-0 record last month but their roller coaster season seems to be getting back on the upswing with four wins in their last six games now. Last time out, the Predators gutted out a 1-0 win over the Dallas Stars on New Year's Eve to claw back to the .500 mark.
Tonight's game also marks the midway point of the season for Edmonton as the Oilers play their 41st contest.
Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Audio Will be available later today. Last Night's Post-Game Video Post-game comments from Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert and Craig MacTavish. 700K More post-game reaction from the Oilers dressing room with Steve Staios, Kyle Brodziak and Ladislav Smid. 700K Last Night's Post-Game Audio Post-Game at St. Louis: Daum, Gilbert, Penner and MacTavish More News The Other Side Getting to know Goalie Dan Ellis - Dan Ellis has been a feel-good story for the Nashville Predators this season. Originally a second-round selection by the Dallas Stars in the 2000 Entry Draft, the Orangeville, Ontario native signed on with Nashville as a free agent this summer. ...more Blake Geoffrion's 2008 WJC Blog - Read the newest entry to Blake Geoffrion's World Junior Championship Blog from Czech Repbulic. Geoffrion is one of four Predators prospects playing on Team USA at this year's tournament. ...more Where are they now? Bob Boughner and Drake Berehowsky - The Nashville Predators' 2007-2008 season marks the tenth season in the history of the franchise. The team takes a regular look back and some of its alumni. ...more From the Fans
Click here to read tonight's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
Garon wins December Molson Cup - Mathieu Garon is the winner of the Molson Cup segment for December. Garon had 30 points during the month with three first star selections, two second star selections and one third star selection. ...more New Year, new wallpaper - With the end of 2007 only hours away, it's time for a new Oilers desktop wallpaper. Follow the link to download four different variations of the January calendar for your computer. ...more From the Wire
Dan Ellis continues to make his case for more playing time in goal for the Nashville Predators.
Coming off his third career shutout, the backup is expected to start again at the Sommet Center on Thursday night when the Predators look for their sixth straight victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Ellis stopped all 22 shots in Nashville's 1-0 win at Dallas on Monday. The victory improved the Predators (18-18-2) to 4-2-0 since losing five in a row.
The win also was special for Ellis, who was drafted in the second round the Stars in 2002 and played his only NHL game prior to this season with them in February 2004.
"I loved being a Dallas Star and have the utmost respect for their organization, but (Monday) was an opportunity to play for the Predators," said Ellis, who has three of the Predators' four shutouts this season. "They're the ones that gave me a shot in the NHL."
Ellis spent almost all his time in the minors while with Dallas, waiting for a chance behind Marty Turco. Ellis signed with Nashville as a free agent last summer to back up Chris Mason and has been more than serviceable in that department. He is 8-4-0 with a 2.36 goals-against average and continues to put the heat on Mason, who is 10-14-2 with 3.09 GAA.
"He's a good fundamental goalie," Turco said of Ellis. "He gives you a solid performance each night. He's made the most of his chances and it's exciting for me to see him play at this level."
Ellis, who bounced back Monday after being pulled when he allowed two goals on three shots in Nashville's 5-2 loss at Chicago on Dec. 26, made 30 saves in the Predators' 4-1 win at Edmonton on Nov. 2.
"I'm really happy for Ellie," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He's been a real good story for us this year."
Alexander Radulov and Jason Arnott assisted on J.P. Dumont's second-period goal Monday for the Predators, who last lost to Edmonton, 3-2 in overtime on March 5, 2006.
Dumont has goals in each of his last two games, while Arnott scored in the last meeting with Edmonton, the team he broke into the league with in 1993.
David Legwand, the Predators' second-leading scorer, is expected to miss his second straight game with a chest injury.
Edmonton (17-20-4) won 3-2 in overtime at St. Louis on Wednesday to snap a season-high six-game losing streak in which they lost each game by two goals or less.
"The whole stretch that we've had here, the whole team has been playing well," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose team went 0-4-2 during the skid
Dustin Penner had two goals, his second coming with 17.8 seconds left in the extra session for the Oilers, who conclude their four-game road trip Thursday.
Mathieu Garon made 31 saves against the Blues to snap a three-game losing streak, but could return to the bench. If he starts, Dwayne Roloson will try to avoid a third straight loss overall and fifth in a row versus Nashville.