The Predators have faired well over the past week of play. They've won four of their last five, and seem to be finding their groove.
Tonight will be a tough test as they face a very good Oilers team.
The Edmonton Oilers
The title of this preview pretty much says it all. This is not your typical Edmonton team that we have been used to seeing in years past. This team is extremely skilled and talented. Seems like all those years of top draft picks is finally starting to pay off.
It all starts with Connor McDavid. I don't think it's any surprise that he is as good as advertised. McDavid has been almost unstoppable this season. He leads his team in points (54) and assists (39). McDavid is also third on the team in goals (15). McDavid is one of those talents that comes around every so often. He has already been tabbed as the next big thing. Many believe he will take Sidney Crosby's place as the NHL's top player, and to he honest, there are no signs that suggest otherwise.
McDavid is only one guy you have to worry about playing these guys now. You also have to worry about guys like Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, and Milan Lucic. And if that wasn't enough to stress you out, you still have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hanging around causing problems for the opposing team. Could you imagine if this team didn't trade Taylor Hall away? Luckily for us, we don't have to worry about him anymore.
The Oilers have a high powered offense. They rank seventh in the league in goals scored. Containing their explosive young forwards will be the key to winning this game tonight. Although this team excels in goal scoring, they are average in goal prevention. That is where Nashville can swing this game. If the Predators can jump on them early, it could change the whole complexion of the game.
The Nashville Predators
Not much really needs to be said here for the Predators. They have certainly played a lot better as of late. It seems as if they are beginning to find their identity.
The return of James Neal has certainly added an element of scoring that this team seemed to lack in his absence. Not only that, but with Neal on the ice, it opens up the ice for the players around him. To say we missed him would be and understatement.
Ryan Ellis has also stepped it up in a big way lately. With Roman Josi and P.K. Subban both out, Ellis has really stepped up and taken on the role of this team's top defender. Not only is he effective on the defensive end, but he is also been very productive on the offensive side as well.
We also can't talk about players who have made a difference as of late and not mention Filip Forsberg. Not only has he found his scoring touch, but he has gained a truck load of confidence on the way. He just looks like a completely different player out there as of late. That can only spell good things for Nashville.
Reasons To Watch
Other than Nashville being the team we expected to be lately, the main reason to watch tonight has to McDavid. This kid is must see television. Oh, and not to mention the Predators could potentially end up tied for third in the division by the end of the night.
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
This one will probably give me high anxiety watching tonight. So I'll be drinking Yamazaki to calm my nerves.
Sights And Sounds
You can catch the game on FS-TN or listen to it live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 8:00 pm CST.