|Edmonton Oilers||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Save %||.921||12th||.920||14th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.87||5th||3.12||24th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.93||27th||3.25||10th|
The Oilers leak Shots Against on a regular basis, but the Predators won't want to get into a track meet against a team with this kind of offensive talent up front. These teams have split their two previous meetings, a 3-2 Oilers win in Edmonton on March 8, and a 6-0 Preds stomping in Nashville on March 17.
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Despite flirting with the idea of playoff contention earlier this season, Edmonton's hopes are fading rapidly once again. SportsClubStats gives them just an 8.2% shot, compared to 26.3% for Nashville, which is essentially in a 3-way race with Dallas & San Jose for the final spot.
Although the focus with Edmonton is always on their trio of #1 overall draft picks (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov), you might be surprised to find out who is actually leading the team in scoring - and no, it's not Jordan Eberle, either:
|2012 - Sam Gagner||30||12||16||28||-4||19||4||0||1||78||15.4|
It appears that off-season preparation is paying off for Gagner:
Gagner spent his 2012 summer training under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coach Andy O'Brien, who owns and operates Human Dynamix and he's quickly become one of the most sought after off-season instructors among NHL players.
"I didn't actually skate very much until August," Gagner said. "It was a lot of off-ice stuff, being in the right position and a lot of tedious stuff to hammer out muscle memory. By the time you get on the ice, you are in a certain position that you hadn't been in before.
"It has really helped with my transition game and pivoting."
--- Jason Gregor, Edmonton Journal
Make sure to head over to The Copper & Blue throughout the day for analysis and updates on tonight's game from an Oilers perspective.
Saturday night's 5-2 win over Columbus is hoped to be a confidence-builder, with heroes to be found at both ends of the ice. Between the goal-scoring outburst and epic penalty killing there were enough highlight moments to set pretty much everyone on the roster in a positive mindset for the final two games of this home stand.
The major development to keep an eye on today is the status of Patric Hornqvist, who may return to action for the first time since that March 8 game against the Oilers.
|2012 - Patric Hornqvist||14||3||5||8||-1||6||3||0||1||54||5.6|
Stay tuned for updates coming out of the morning skate (sometime after 10:30) to see whether or not Hornqvist is ready to go.
In the meantime, the Predators may have found some additional offensive punch on the right side with rookie Taylor Beck. In his three games so far he's posted 10 shots on goal, scored once, gained an assist on a David Legwand goal by driving through the crease, and drew a penalty against Calgary on another power move past a defenseman. That kind of attack-the-net mentality could earn him a full-time gig up here if he keeps it going.