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Game 5 – Nashville @ Edmonton: Starting the Week on the Right Foot


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Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America

UPDATE: Per Tom Callahan, Edmonton will be sitting Peckham/Whitney/and Hordichuk tonight with Eager and Petry filling their spots. Also, Khabibulin will start for the Oilers in net

The Nashville Predators (2-1-1) finished an unsuccessful week by dropping their Saturday night tilt to the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout after holding a 2-0 lead after two periods. Tonight they travel to the frozen tundra of Edmonton, Alberta as they begin their early Western Canada road-trip against the Edmonton Oilers (1-1-1) who dropped their Saturday night game as well, 4-3 against the Vancouver Canucks

Last Year’s Series: 2-1-1 (1-1 Home, 1-0-1 Away)

Last Season’s Video Recaps:
Game 1: January 23rd, 2011:

Game 2: February 7th, 2011:

Game 3: March 1st, 2010:

Game 4: March 22nd, 2010:

Looking at the Oilers: A brilliant off-season saw them draft superstar Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to add to their already budding lineup with players such as Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jordan Eberle. Yet, even after a 1-1-1 start taking both Pittsburgh and Minnesota to a shootout before sadly dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday after a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hat trick, Edmonton received some even more disheartening news when they learned one of their star forwards Ales Hemsky is going to be sidelined for the next 3 weeks with a shoulder injury.

Edmonton has a lot of up and coming talent on their team, but with one of their main veterans gone for a little under a month and a hodgepodge collection of talent after that (not to mention their incredibly talented youth), the Oilers are going to have to work hard to string a few wins together with what can only be explained as one of the toughest month and half schedules upcoming staring them right in the face.

Looking at the Predators: What else can be said that wasn’t said here or here? Just a tough couple of games last week for the Predators that have to be improved upon as they adventure out to take on Edmonton/Vancouver/Calgary this week.

For the Oilers to win: Take advantage of a miscued Nashville Predators team before everything starts to re-click. For all any of us know, the Predators could be the equivalent of the 98/99 New Jersey Devils this year and be serious road warriors (the Devils that year won 28 road games, an NHL best). Edmonton will have to get some strong goaltending from Dubnyk or Belanger (whoever starts), but shouldn’t have a problem producing offense unless the Nashville defense goes back to playing a full 60 minute game.

If Nashville ends up struggling at any point in time tonight, watch for Edmonton to capitalize and continue the Predators current losing streak

For the Predators to win: Well, the 5-on-5 play was vastly improved Saturday evening over Thursday night’s opener, however the new problem is playing a 60 mintue game instead of a 30 minute game. Nashville could have easily won the game against the Devils if they would have stayed forechecking/backchecking and if they wouldn’t have let New Jersey “off the hook”.

David Legwand continues to be tied for the league lead in points with 8 and is currently on a 4 game point streak, I don’t see that ending tonight to be honest. The Predators HAVE to play this ENTIRE road trip with a real sense of urgency if they want to grab a few points before heading home after Saturday’s game against Calgary, otherwise they’ll find themselves in a VERY familiar hole that they’ve been in twice in the past three seasons losing 6 straight after winning 2 in a row.

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If you like what I have listed out here or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to let me know at kristopher.martel@thepredatorial.com

Stay frosty, friends