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EDMONTON OILERS (31-26-5) at
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (31-28-4)
Start Time: 6:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Predators Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
LINE-UP UPDATES: At this morning's skate, rookie Liam Reddox was promoted to the top line with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky... Erik Cole, Sam Gagner, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot compose the second line, while Dustin Penner mans the third line with Andrew Cogliano and Fernando Pisani... Jean-Francois Jacques, Kyle Brodziak, and Zack Stortini round out the forwards... Dwayne Roloson to start in net.
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
The Oilers finished their homestand in the best way possible: a hard-earned win over a division rival to jump back above the playoff wire in the Western Conference.
Now, Edmonton (31-26-5) will try to stay among the pack—if not rise above—when they start a four-game road trip in Nashville versus the Predators (31-28-4) tonight.
The Oilers are 1-2 versus the Predators this season and will look to even the season series in the two clubs’ final meeting of the year and Edmonton’s first game in March. Edmonton lost 3-1 the last time they faced Nashville, coincidentally, in their first game of February. Edmonton will be playing against some tall odds as they are 1-10-0 in their last 11 games against the Predators dating back to the 2005-06 season.
The Oilers had lost four of their last five games before earning an integral win against Minnesota on Saturday night but they’ve lost two straight on the road.
Nashville has played its way back into playoff contention by going 10-4-1 in February which was capped off by an 8-0 pounding over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The Predators now sit in ninth spot, one point back of Edmonton and Anaheim.
Edmonton will play three more on the road (all eastern Canadian teams—Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal) and be back at Rexall Place on Mar. 12 to open a three-game homestand versus Atlanta.
Just The Facts...
Preview vs. Nashville: Stauffer & DeBrusk
Oilers pre-game comments vs. Preds: Pisani, Reddox, Jacques and MacTavish
The Other Side: Nashville comments Pre-Game Audio... JF Jacques Liam Reddox Fernando Pisani Craig MacTavish Monday's Audio... MacTavish comments on Moreau's injury status MacTavish talks about Wednesday's trade deadline
The Other Side - news from nashvillepredators.com
Preds place 4 in THN Future Watch Top 50 - Four Predators prospects were listed in the The Hockey News 2009 Future Watch Top-50, the most of any team, including 2008 First Round pick Colin Wilson who checked in at No. 4 overall. | Predators Prospect Update (Feb. 27) | ...more Trade Deadline Primer - This week features one of the bell-weather events of the NHL season … the annual Trade Deadline. Check NashvillePredators.com for the latest on the Preds maneuverings leading up to Wednesday's deadline. ...more
From the Fans
Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board.
Odds and Ends
My Five with J.F. Jacques - Family, elegant European cities, and Ultimate Fighter Georges St. Pierre are among JF Jacques' favourite things. Follow the link for his other Top 5's in four unique categories. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
An already successful homestand has helped the Nashville Predators remain competitive in the crowded Western Conference playoff race. Another win over the Edmonton Oilers would move them higher in the standings.
The surging Predators look for a season-high fifth straight victory Tuesday night while trying for their seventh in a row at home over the Oilers.
While seven points separate sixth from 13th place in the West, Edmonton (31-26-5) is currently seventh with 67 points. Nashville, meanwhile, is two spots and one point back of the Oilers.
"It's a tight race," Predators defenseman Shea Weber said. "We're just excited. It's an exciting time of year and it's going to be close all the way through."
With points at a premium, winning at home is a must and Nashville (31-28-4) is making the most of its current opportunity. The Predators have won three in a row to open a five-game homestand that concludes Thursday against Columbus - two points ahead of them in the West.
While Edmonton is 16-14-1 on the road, the Oilers haven't had much success against the Predators of late, especially in Nashville where they last won 5-1 on Oct. 29, 2005.
Nashville has won two of three meetings this season and 10 of the last 11 in the series. Each club, though, has seven goals against the other in 2008-09.
One of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL with 159 goals, Nashville matched the second-highest total in club history with an 8-0 victory over Detroit on Saturday. Jason Arnott had the first hat trick of the season for the Predators, who scored 10 combined goals in their previous three victories.
"Anytime you score some goals you have to realize how you are scoring them," coach Barry Trotz said. "We are moving the puck with speed, we are getting the puck in deep and going to the net hard."
Arnott has scored five of his team-leading 26 goals in his last three games. The former Oiler, though, has been held without a point against them this season.
Rookie Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots against Detroit for his sixth shutout of the season.
"It's not going to happen every day that you have a game like that," said Rinne, who was 9-2-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average in February.
Rinne has allowed three goals on 77 shots while going 2-0-0 versus Edmonton this season.
The Oilers won 3-2 over visiting Minnesota on Saturday to finish a 2-1-1 homestand. Ales Hemsky scored his team-leading 20th, Tom Gilbert had a goal with an assist and Dwayne Roloson made 43 saves for Edmonton, which opens a four-game road trip Tuesday.
"It was the biggest game of the year until Tuesday," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "Nashville is back in. It looks like it could come down to the last week and we'll see who wins the last game of the year."
Roloson is 22-16-5 with a 2.68 GAA on the season and 1-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA against Nashville in 2008-09.
Edmonton will be without captain Ethan Moreau for an undetermined time after he was struck in the right eye by a high stick from Minnesota's Antti Miettinen late in Saturday's win.
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