The Nashville Predators arrived in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon after losing 4-1 to a near perfect Red Wings team on Saturday night. The Preds are in dire need of a win tonight against the Oilers (FS-TN, 8:30 p.m.) in order to right their sinking ship.
The Predators are on a four game losing streak that started against Columbus on November 19 in an overtime loss and continued last Tuesday in Smashville against this same Oilers team in a 6-2 loss.
In that game, the Predators came out completely flat and Barry Trotz removed Pekka Rinne after the opening period so that he would avoid the additional humiliation of playing behind a team putting forth a marginal effort.
The Predators ran into a very strong Minnesota Wild team the following night and lost 3-2 in a game where the Preds started slow and were the victims of a freak play with an odd bounce off a stanchion that proved to be the game winning goal for the Wild.
All that being said, the Predators are in need of a break (and a win) to get back on the right track.
It is not clear who will be in goal for either team. The Predators are playing back to back games and the plan last week was for Pekka Rinne (10-6-4, 2.39, .927) and Anders Lindback (0-1-0, 3.48, .890) to each start one contest in the prior back to back situation. That was derailed by the Preds' horrific start against the Oilers. Either Rinne or Lindback could start tonight.
For the Oilers, Nikolai Khabibulin (9-4-2, 1.87, .936) has been outstanding this year but Devin Dubnyk (3-5-0, 2.88, .902) has done well against the Predators in his career, going 2-1-1 including the win last week.
One area of concern for the Predators in their recent slide is their penalty kill that historically has been one of the team's strengths. In the last five games, the Preds have given up seven goals on their last 19 kills, covering the last five games.
It appears that Roman Josi will play his second game as a pro since it was reported that Frankie Bouillon has been sent back to Nashville with a tweaked groin, so the Predators only have six healthy defensemen with the team.
After tonight's game, the team will leave immediately for the short trip to Calgary where they will play the Flames tomorrow night, and then move on to Vancouver for a game on Thursday.
The Predators will return home on Saturday when they will play the Buffalo Sabres and begin a stretch of 19 games with 14 being at Bridgestone Arena. Special POTG discount tickets are available for all remaining games. Go here and use the offer code preds.
For other Predator previews check out Amanda DiPaolo, Ryan Porth, Robby Stanley, Fang Finger, Paul McCann, Predatorial, Dirk Hoag, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
For the Edmonton view check out the Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, The Copper and Blue, OilersNation, and Oil on Whyte.
For the game notes from NHL Media Services go here.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass