The afternoon word from the Tennessean is that Martin Erat will not play tonight, as he recovers from a groin strain.
I thought I'd try a team-level breakdown of play in terms of even strength and special teams (5-on-4 only) to see how Edmonton and Nashville might match up:
|5-on-5||EDM PP vs. NSH PK||EDM PK vs. NSH PP|
|EDGE||Slight, Edmonton||Strong, Nashville||Even|
Basically, in 5-on-5 the Oilers play to a draw while Nashville gets outscored by 0.2 goals per 60 minutes, giving the slight edge to Edmonton. When the Oilers have the man advantage, the combination of Goals For and Against marks them as the #24 PP in the NHL, while, as we know, Nashville boasts one of the top PK units (#3), giving a strong edge to the Predators there. Conversely, when Nashville has the 5-on-4 advantage, it should be an ugly battle; the Predators PP woes are notorious, but the Edmonton PK unit comes in at #27 since they not only get torched, but don't score shorthanded either.
Bottom line; overall it should be an even battle, but the Oilers come in with the more severe injury situation, down Vishnovski and Moreau to Nashville's Erat, Bonk & Nichol. We'll see how it unfolds... join me here in the comments at 7:00 p.m. Central!