The Predators are in a weird place. No one is happy they are playing so poorly, and it seems like talk about Coach Hynes is beginning to heat up - at least, more than usual.
While the higher-paid players showed up a bit last week, we saw nothing from anyone against the Capitals. That can’t have set well with this squad, fighting to to contend in a stiff Central Division. Juuse Saros in his prime playing years deserves a better team in front of him, to be honest. That team hasn’t shown up yet.
Maybe we’ll see another lacrosse goal tonight?
Saros has always played quite well against the Oilers, but he’s rarely come away with a win. Back in 2017, Saros stopped a whopping 46 pucks against the Oilers.
I’m hoping the Nino Niederreiter-Ryan Johansen pairing gets up and running soon. It’s hard to get any kind of consistency when the lines are being shuffled, but honestly, the coaching staff hasn’t had much luck doing anything with combinations that were successful in the preseason. The only line that’s stuck has been the “Herd” line. Eeli Tolvanen was scratched last week against Washington - will he get in the lineup tonight?
The Predators haven’t defeated the Oilers since February 2019. I’m often impressed by Connor McDavid, but who isn’t? Leon Draisaitl leads the NHL with assists, but that’s going to be the case when you skate next to McDavid.
While putting this preview together, I found that the Oilers have won four straight contests. There’s motivation for them to separate themselves in the Pacific Division, especially against the Calgary Flames.
Our friends at Copper N Blue put together this 9-game review of the Oilers. There’s a lot of good things going for the Oilers - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Darnell Nurse are having great starts to 2022-2023. Zach Hyman is a dream. However, Tyson Barrie has been less-than-stellar and Jesse Puljujarvi has been missing in action. The Edmonton Oilers are less than perfect, but they’re going to be a tough challenge tonight.
Keep Your Eye on This Guy
Jordan Gross was recalled from the Admirals to provide blue line depth for Nashville. He’s been impactful in the AHL and was last year’s AHL Defenseman of the Year. Can he be a surprise bright spot for the Preds tonight?
For Edmonton, keep your eye on Jack Campbell in net. The oft-hated former Toronto goalie has found his stride in Edmonton and might be the goalie the Oilers need to advance to the Conference Final once more. They’re a strong team with a strong goalie.
Reasons to Watch
Are the Preds in a slump? They sure are. Is this a permanent slump? Is it forever? I don’t know the answers and it really doesn’t seem like the team knows, either.
Tonight’s Theme Song
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 8:00 Central. 102.5 The Game has the radio call and Bally Sports South has the broadcast.