The Oilers will head to Nashville for a mid-afternoon game against the Predators. Here are your gameday notes.
1. Nashville has completely dominated the Oilers as of late. The Predators have won 13 straight meetings between the two teams, outscoring Edmonton 40-15. The last time the Oilers beat the Predators was on March 18, 2014. Edmonton won 5-1 and Viktor Fasth stopped 28 of 29 shots. That 2013-14 was the last year the Predators missed the playoffs and it also resulted in Barry Trotz, who had been the only coach in franchise history, getting canned.
2. The Oilers and Predators also played last Saturday in Edmonton. Despite firing 31 shots on Juuse Saros, the Oilers weren’t able to score a goal. Nashville would only get two past Cam Talbot, but they buried one into the empty net for a 3-0 win. The score looks more lopsided than it actually was. The Oilers played pretty well but Saros was excellent between the pipes.
3. Speaking of Saros, he’s played in three games since Pekka Rinne got injured in a game against Calgary, and he’s posted a very solid .919 save percentage. Saros is one of the better backup goalies in the league and, Rinne being injured, he’s finally being given an opportunity to show it. Rinne is set to become a free agent on July 1 and there’s a very good chance the Predators let him move on and hand Saros the net.
4. On the other side, Mikko Koskinen will finally get a chance to show fans what he’s all about. It’ll be the first time the big Finn has played in an NHL game since Feb. 13, 2011. Hilariously enough, he came into a game against Buffalo in relief of Al Montoya who had allowed two goals on 14 shots. Koskinen came in and allowed four goals on 14 shots and the Islanders would pick up the win. Oilers backups combined for a .892 SV% last season. Will Koskinen be better?
5. It’s interesting the Oilers are finally giving Koskinen his debut against the best team in the league. We talked on the ON podcast about this an came up with two different theories. One was that the Oilers are looking to give Nashville a different style goalie to shoot at than the one they faced last week. The other was that the team is all-in on winning the Blackhawks game the following day and the Predators game is more of a throwaway.
6. As good as Nashville is, special teams haven’t been a big part of their success through 10 games this season. The Predators rank 29th in the league on the power play as they’ve converted on just four of their 35 chances. They also rank 24th on the penalty kill as they’ve allowed a goal on eight of 29 power play opportunities against. One positive for them, though, is that they’re a disciplined team and they don’t give the other team many power play chances.
7. Nashville’s success comes through a well-balanced attack at even strength and a rock-solid blueline. They’re third in the league with 35 goals scored. Their top line of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, and Ryan Johansen is potent as they’ve accounted for 16 of those goals, but the Preds have also had a whopping total of 15 different players come up with a goal for them through 10 games.
8. A completely under-the-radar move that isn’t talked about enough is Nashville’s acquisition of Kyle Turris. Nashville was the third team involved when the Senators and Avalanche hooked up to send Matt Duchene to Ottawa. All Nashville had to do was give up Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, their second-round pick to Colorado and they got themselves a damn good second line centre. Turris has eight points in 10 games this year and he gives the Preds that second centre they had been coveting.
9. Nashville’s scoring depth is something the Oilers don’t have. Beyond Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the team has had a rough time generating offence. Over the past couple games, Alex Chiasson has done his best to help that cause, burying three goals on three shots, but the team only has four players who have scored more than one goal.
10. With the win over Washington, the Oilers guaranteed that, at the worst, they’d finish their nine-game hell stretch to start the season with at least a .500 record. They’re sitting at 4-3-1 right now, and, after the doom and gloom of the 0-2 start, I think everybody would have been thrilled with where they’re heading as they go to Nashville. The schedule gets quite a bit easier from here, but beating the President’s Trophy winners would be a huge confidence boost for the team as they finish this stretch.
NATION ROADIE TO CALGARY
Friends, your time is running out if you want to get in on this road trip to Calgary. We’re about 3/4 sold out and you have less than a week to make the call on coming or not.
Give me the details, guy:
- When? Saturday, November 17th, 2018
- How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($329/person) up to groups of four ($249/person).
- Why? Because we love to party
- Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like the last time we did this, the trip sold out quickly and procrastinating will be your enemy if you want to come.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/26/2018 – 7:00 am MT