Two days before Thanksgiving, the Nashville Predators (10-5-4) will host the Edmonton Oilers (10-8-2) in a battle of two teams near the top of their respective divisions.
Edmonton, who has gone 3-6-0 in the month of November so far, comes into Nashville after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Dallas Stars last night. Nashville, on the other hand, has had a pretty successful November with a 5-1-2 record, although they ended up on the losing end of the battle against Columbus on Saturday night, losing in overtime 4-3.
This Year’s Series: 0-1-0 (0-0-0 Home, 0-1-0 Away)
This Season’s Video Recaps:
Game 1 – October 17th, 2010:
Looking at the Oilers: Talk about a complete turn-around from previous seasons, Edmonton’s high draft choices are finally paying off as the Oilers are 2nd in the Northwest Division, but 10th overall in the über-competitive Western Conference. After a hot 7-2-2 start to the season, the Oilers have since cooled off only winning twice in their past 8 games.
Edmonton already has two 20-point scorers on their roster this season with a little dose of the old and the new leading the way in Ryan Smyth and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Three of their four top point collectors are 21 or younger (Hall w/ 14 points, Eberle w/ 18 points, Nugent-Hopkins w/ 20 points).
Nikolai Khabibulin is having an unreal start to the season with an 8-4-2 record so far and a dominant 1.86 GAA. With Khabibulin starting last night in the loss to the Stars, I would expect Devan Dubnyk to get the start tonight on the end of the back-to-back for the Oilers.
Looking at the Predators: Even a loss to the Blue Jackets can’t slow down the red-hot Nashville Predators. With a 5-1-2 record in November so far and gaining 12 points out of a possible 14 points altogether, the Predators are having a “November to remember”.
Shea Weber and Ryan Suter lead the way defensively for the Predators and Nashville has been a machine lately allowing 2 or less goals in 4 straight before giving up 4 to the Blue Jackets on Saturday. With Weber and Suter #1 and #3 respectively in +/-, their stats hold up as well with Weber collecting 14 points and Suter right at 13.
David Legwand was back in action for the first time in four games Saturday and looked very sharp. Expect the lineup to remain the same for the most part tonight, however maybe some different line combinations.
For the Oilers to win: Find your defensive chemistry. After whipping Chicago 9-2 on Saturday night, the Oilers followed that up with a 4-1 loss to Dallas last night. They’re averaging nearly 3 goals a game in their past 9, however are allowing over 3 goals a game in that span as well.
If Edmonton can hold Nashville under 3 goals and get great goaltending, the Oilers may be able to continue their domination in the Music City.
For the Predators to win: Keep your composure. Nashville took 5 penalties Saturday night, including 2 in the offensive zone. Ryan Suter looked completely flustered as well, taking two straight penalties in the third period. Yet, this has been a problem all season for the Predators as they’ve taken 5 or more penalties in 9 of their 19 games this season.
If Nashville can keep their composure against a team that plays a very similar style of hockey and play a better defensive game than they did Saturday, the Predators should be able to continue their great November
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Stay frosty, friends