The Predators continue their “best of 19″ series when they face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the first game of a 4 game homestand and the first game of another tough week for the Predators.
Looking at the Oilers: The Oilers are starting to look like the team that’s been in the basement of the Western Conference for the majority of the season. Currently riding a 6 game losing streak (0-4-2), the Oilers have been able to snag defeat right out of the jaws of victory on a couple of these games (most notably the 2-1 Detroit OT loss) and just seem to be reeling right now. However, Nashville doesn’t need to underestimate this team. The Oilers are 2-0-1 against the Predators this year including a 4-0 shutout win in their last visit in Nashville. As Tom Renney said about this game, “Every time we go into Nashville, we wonder sort of how we’re going to beat these guys because they’re very — I don’t want to call it robotic — but they’re very systematic.”
Looking at the Predators: The Predators are rising in the West and are doing so while playing their best hockey of the season. After losing heartbreakers to both Calgary and San Jose, the Predators have rattled off 5 wins in 6 games in a span of 10 days (including beating Boston and Detroit), capping it off with Sunday afternoon’s 200 second come from behind win to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in overtime. However, what is a little discomforting is that the Predators HAVE to have 3 goals to win a game (35-4-1 when scoring 3). Though, if you can keep guys like Geoffrion and Blum scoring and continue to have success with Kostitsyn, Legwand, Erat, Ward, and plenty of others, the Predators will continue to find their 3 goals a game.
For the Oilers to win: Find the kink in the robot one more time. The Oilers always seem to have the Predators number over the past couple of seasons. They tend to exploit holes in Nashville’s defense and then make the Predators look silly. Edmonton has some fast skillful players on their team, but they’re going to have to do it without Taylor Hall for the rest of the season. If Edmonton can yet again find their way around the Preds defense, they may win the season series and play spoiler against the Nashville Predators
For the Predators to win: Keep doing what you’re doing! The Predators are on a roll right now and are stamping their wins with AMAZING goaltending and firepower from everyone on the lineup, but they need this to continue this whole entire week. All 4 lines need to play well, the defense needs to hold, and Rinne needs to play like he’s playing in the Stanley Cup Finals to MAKE SURE they don’t let the Oil slip past
Prediction: 5-2 Predators. Nashville doesn’t take too kindly to losing 2 straight to Edmonton and decide to play a full 60 minutes instead of the 20 or so minutes they played Sunday afternoon. With a full day’s rest with no practice on Monday, the Predators are going to come out hot and take a much needed 2 points on the way to another long work week
Playoff Outlook: 86 points, Currently, 7th place/Tied for 5th – 3 points out of 4th, 8 points out of 2nd
Best of 19 Record: 6-2-2
March Record: 6-2-2
What SportsClubStats Says?: 80.6% chance the Predators make it. The Predators need 99+ points to secure a playoff spot. They are currently 13 points out of a possible 18 points behind that
WHO TO ROOT FOR?:
NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs Edmonton Oilers
Phoenix Coyotes vs ST. LOUIS BLUES
Thanks for reading!