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Predators Game Day Preview: Edmonton vs. Nashville


Edmonton Oilers blogs: Lowetide, Black Dog Hates Skunks

Western Conference playoff positioning is on the line as 7th-place Edmonton (67 points in 62 games) comes to town for a match with the 9th-place Predators (66 points in 63 games). Nashville has won 2 of the previous 3 meetings between the teams this season.

Questions to be answered: (1) Can Nashville avoid a letdown after the emotional high of Saturday night's 8-0 win over Detroit? (2) Will Martin Erat return to the lineup? (3) Can the Predators power play take advantage of Edmonton's 27th-ranked PK?

Oilers coming in: Edmonton has kept pace in the playoff hunt, coming off a 2-1-1 homestand that concluded with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Already without star defenseman Lubomir Vishnovski, however, the Oilers lost their captain for the time being when Ethan Moreau took a stick to the eye late in that game. He won't require surgery, but he'll be out of the lineup for a while.

Predators coming in: Nashville rides in to this one on a 4-game winning streak and has scored 17 goals in the last 3 games (in the month of December, they scored 22 total!). Pekka Rinne should have been one of the 3 Stars of the Month for February the way he's been playing.

Oilers to watch: Ales Hemsky just scored his 20th goal of the season, and is one of the shiftiest puckhandlers in the NHL. Sheldon Souray is the big bomber from the point, and Zack Stortini (18 fighting majors, tied for 2nd in the league) is a good candidate to for a spot on Wade Belak's dance card.

Preds to watch: After Saturday night? Pretty much all of them.

As fun as the Red Wings victory was, tonight's game (and Thursday's tilt with Columbus) matters even more. It's almost as important for Edmonton to lose, particularly in regulation, as it is for Nashville to win and keep the momentum rolling.