The Nashville Predators begin their multi-week road trip with a journey to the frigid desolation of their sister city north of the border. The Edmonton Oilers have had Nashville's numbers in recent years, making fans a little nervous about this game. Not only should Nashville want to start their excursion in the best possible way, they need to quickly erase the stink that's still hanging around from Saturday's game against Pittsburgh.
The Edmonton Oilers
Don't let the standings fool you. Edmonton may be sixth in the Pacific division, but they're riding high on a four-game win streak in which they've beaten the likes of Tampa Bay, Washington and Montreal. Not exactly pushovers. (Sorry, Carolina.) They lost each of their first five games, looking porous defensively and having a hot-n-cold offense. Things have turned a little bit, recently.
During their win streak they've scored 14 goals while only allowing seven, and Ben Scrivens has been a big factor in that. The Professor didn't have a good start to the season, but frankly his team wasn't doing him any favors. Scrivens is coming off a shutout against Montreal, and the Hurricanes are the only team to score more than two goals against the Oilers in five games. Should he get the start tonight, a goalie's duel could be on the bill.
It's too early to tell whether things are finally going to start clicking for the Oilers, but they have the pieces to do so. Hell, half their team is nothing but first-round picks. Their first line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle has the potential to be lethal, as the trio has combined for 19 points on the year.
This is going to be one of those games that expect to be closer than what the teams' records indicate.
Also, this is the coolest thing ever and more team sites need it.
The Nashville Predators
Matt Cullen is set to make his season debut tonight, after being activated from IR on Tuesday. The 37-year-old was a popular narrative piece during the offseason, since he was part of the Carolina Hurricanes team that won the Stanley Cup under Peter Laviolette.
On the flip side, you won't see Viktor Stalberg zipping around on the ice, as he's getting set for his conditioning stint with the Milwaukee Admirals. Many (including myself) thought this was a good sign for Calle Jarnkrok, but Ironhook was rotating in and out of the lines with the scratches yesterday. Could be nothing, but wouldn't that be something if Jarnkrok misses the chopping block only to be immediately scratched.
Nashville needs to get their special teams going in the first two games of this road trip. Currently, their Special Teams Index (PP and PK added together) is an ugly 84.6. (You want to be around 100.) The Preds PK is 25th in the league, and the power play is 27th. That's not a recipe for success, no matter how good the rest of your game is.
Reasons to Watch
I'm sure some of you are running low on HFBoard style trade scenarios for Hall, Eberle, RNH or Yakupov. It'd be a good time to brush up on those.
Wouldn't It Be Funny If...
Jarnkrok is scratched. It's going to happen, isn't it?
I hope you're a night owl because this one doesn't get underway until 9 p.m. CST. As always FS-TN and 102.5 The Game have you covered for sights and sounds.