Nashville Predators @ Edmonton Oilers Preview: On the Road Again, Thankfully
|Nashville Predators||Edmonton Oilers|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.8||14th||25.8||29th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||27.1||4th||33.8||27th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.908||27th||.911||25th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.00||28th||3.39||14th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.00||3rd||3.36||18th|
More on tonight's opponent
More on tonight's opponent
The Oilers are preparing themselves for another crack at one of the top draft picks this summer, after failing once again to find their way into the Western Conference playoff hunt. While they've put up a modestly impressive 9-4-3 record in their last 16 games, there are indications that this is just a short-term blip and Edmonton's underlying puck possession deficiencies are still very much in force.
Where hope might reside for Oilers fans is in goal, where the team has swapped the tandem they started the season with for Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth, a pair which should be able to deliver competent NHL goaltending, which is a step up from what they've enjoyed previously. Of course, that's only one area of concern on a team fraught with issues. General Manager Craig MacTavish has his work cut out for him
MacTavish is going to have to make some trades this summer. I have my doubts that he can do enough in one summer to fix all that is wrong with the Oilers, but he's got to at least try. And so far I would say that he's much more willing to make a move than he predecessor was. Look at how he responded to the team's goaltending issues: Dubnyk/LaBarbera → Dubnyk/Bryzgalov → Scrivens/Bryzgalov → Scrivens/Fasth. There are no guarantees that a Scrivens/Fasth tandem will give the Oilers even average goaltending next season, but I think the risk is worth the potential reward.
--- @ryanbatty, Copper & Blue
Edmonton has tremendous needs on the blueline, which constantly feeds speculation about various scenarios involving Nashville, whether something along the lines of young Predators talent in exchange for impact forwards up front, or the Big Whopper, a blockbuster deal for Shea Weber. Neither side would want to negatively impact that aspect of the roster which represents a competitive advantage, however, so it's not as easy to find a fit as many might believe.
All the feel-good energy from that 3-game road winning streak dissipated quickly Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues, as the Preds fell on home ice for the fifth straight time. Will life on the road treat them better?
As David Boclair noted yesterday, Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque are slogging their way through long goal-less stretches, as both are 0-for-2014 so far. Neither player has lived up to the expectations raised last season, so who do we look in these dark times to lead the way?
Why Seth Jones, of course.
Look, he's already scored goals at Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Ottawa this season, so we can only assume that his Great Canadian Rampage will continue tonight against the hapless Oilers.
The puck drops at 8:30 tonight, so make sure to check back for the Game Thread!