The Nashville Predators (28-18-7) return to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena tonight to face the last place Edmonton Oilers (15-19-8) in a game that could define a proverbial "trap" game.
The Predators are coming off a huge win against Detroit on Saturday and play the Wings again on Wednesday night in Detroit. The Preds are in fourth place in the Western Conference while the Oilers have lost four in a row and are in the lead for the first pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft that goes to the team with the worst record in the NHL.
Predators Coach Barry Trotz spoke about the "trap" nature of the game, "It could be. Edmonton is a really fast hockey team. They added Hemsky and Eberle since then (last game). It's not a trap game if you respect your opponent and play the way you are going to need to play. It's going to take a great effort to beat Edmonton."
"They are playing really well right now and they have no restrictions on where they want to be. They just want to be better every game. They've got an exciting young group of guys and if you let them play the way they can, they are really dangerous. They've got an exciting future in front of them. Khabibulin can also stand on his head some nights so you have to be ready for them."
The Predators faced the Oilers on their recent road trip and won 3-2 on Cody Franson's first ever shoot out goal. The Preds have now won four in a row against the Oil and are 15-2-0 since the start of the 2006-07 season.
Either Pekka Rinne (18-13-5, 2.04, .931) or Anders Lindback (10-5-2, 2.61, .914) could be in net tonight. There is no longer a "shutout rule" in place so Trotz could conceivably rest Rinne once again. The Oil will counter with Nikolai Khabibulin (8-24-2, 3.46, .891) or Devan Dubnyk (5-5-6, 2.89, .911).
Update: Rinne will be in goal tonight.
More game previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
From oil country comes previews from Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, The Copper and Blue, OilersNation, and Oil on Whyte.
Here is our game story from Saturday night. Here is a second story about Alice Cooper and what the players thought about meeting him.
Josh Cooper had his game story and and postgame ponderings. Bryan Mullen had the game notes.
David Boclair has his story at The City Paper.
From the blog world reports come from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Dirk Hoag, Jeremy Gover, Tyler Davis, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
For the Motor City story on the game, check out MLive, the Detroit Free Press, Winging It in Motown, and the Detroit News.
In Pred Nation...
I still can't get over the Alice Cooper appearance at Saturday's game. Predators.com has this interview.
Jim Diamond talked to Alice Cooper about growing up in Detroit as a hockey fan.
AJ at PullMyFangFinger wants to save time in a bottle in a Jim Croce themed post that is really well composed.
If you missed it yesterday Ryan Porth had his rebuttal to the FS TB show on the top ten Predator moments. Thanks to Ryan for a great piece.
Amanda Dipaolo makes the case for Pekka Rinne winning the Vezina Trophy.
Mark Willoughby has a great travelogue of his trip to Philadelphia last week.
Josh Cooper looks at a possible call up for Blake Geoffrion at some point this season.
David Boclair says a contract extension for Sergei Kostitsyn is on hold until the off-season.
OnTheForecheck has the voting for play of the week. Is it really a contest? They also have a video review of Sergei Kostitsyn's short-handed goal on Saturday.
Nick Lidstrom had kind words to say about Shea Weber before Saturday's game.
The Milwaukee Admirals continued to roll on Saturday beating Grand Rapids 6-2. Linus Klasen and Gabriel Bourque had two goals each. Blake Geofrion had a goal and two assists which gives him 14 points in the last four games.
Around the NHL...
Adrian Dater's dream came true. Peter Forsberg is indeed back and hopefully will make a return to the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.
Ryan Porth looks at whether Forsberg can make an impact on the Avalanche.
With Peter Forsberg coming back at age 38, The Hockey News looks at a top ten of players that played into their forties.
With the news that Evgeni Malkin will be out with knee surgery, Ryan Porth feels like the Pens will still do well. I'm thinking Jason Arnott may be a trade deadline pick up for them.
Phil Esposito has been named Vice President of Corporate Relations and Dave Andreychuk has been named Vice President of Fans (???) for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I wonder who the Preds' VP of fans would be.
Steve LaPore indicates that there is strong belief that Joe Beninati may be out at Versus alone with many others. There is also an indication that Piere McGuire may move to Versus.
Sean Avery has a decent side it appears. He's willing to stand beside any player at any level that wants to come out of the closet.
It's down to the wire at the MotherPucker Hockey Hottie seedings voting. Vote while you still can.
Odds and Ends...
In their haste to approve medical marijuana in Arizona, they have made it legal to toke up in neighborhood parks and common areas.
The Toronto Sun has a positive article on downtown Nashville.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass