GDB 45.0: Oilers square off against the Predators for 16th straight win (2pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
5 months ago
I don’t normally get too excited about Edmonton Oilers matinees, but with a 16th straight win and a perfect month of January on the line, it’s hard not to get fired up to get this thing going.
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What a ride this season has been. If you had told me during the 2-9-1 stretch that kicked off the year that we’d soon be celebrating a 15-game streak, I never would have believed you in a million years. I don’t know that I remember a start to a season quite as dark as the one we experienced back in October; it had a lot of us feeling like there was a black cloud hanging overhead.
Since this website launched in 2007, we’ve experienced plenty of dark times together, but one thing we’ve never had is Stanley Cup aspirations that looked like they were gone before we even got started. If you go back and read any of the comments from the early-season wrap-ups, you’ll see a group of fans that were almost as unhinged as the team we were complaining about. There was blame flying around, horrifying trade proposals, and endless confusion about how it all happened, but the thing that was always the same was that we were in this together.
Fast-forward a few months, and the Edmonton Oilers are on the heater of all heaters, which started only a week after their previous heater. Our boys have now won 23 of their last 26 games, and it’s a run that has not only propelled them back into playoff contention but maybe even in line for the division. Obviously, a result like that will take a whole lot more work and plenty of luck to make happen, but this is a very real goal we can think about less than half a season after some of us thought the Oilers were done. The point I’m getting at is that the 2023-24 campaign has been a trip.
Standing in the way of the Oilers’ 16th straight win is a Nashville Predators team that has not had a whole lot of success against our boys in recent years. Even so, the Predators come into Edmonton with a respectable 13-9-1 record on the road, which will surely present a challenge even though the Oilers are 10-2-0 in their last 12 games at Rogers Place. At 5-5-0 in their last 10 games, the Predators are currently hanging onto the second Wildcard spot in the Western Conference and will surely be coming into round three of the season series fueled by desperation.
If nothing else, nobody wants to be the next team on the Oilers’ kill list, and that means our side will need to do a better job of being ready to play. Against both Columbus and Chicago, it took the boys more than a few minutes to get their legs going, and I think we can all agree that it would be best to clip that ugly habit sooner than later. Sure, a slow start may have worked out against two weaker teams, but as the competition gets tougher, it might be easier to work with a full 60 instead of a single-period race to the finish.
With the NHL record within sight, the Oilers have an opportunity to do something historical, but that can only happen if they get the job done today. I don’t think there’s any doubt that our side is the more talented team, but that advantage can disappear in a hurry with a few costly mistakes. Over the last couple of games, the boys have gotten away with those early mistakes, but it’s only a matter of time before that sloppiness catches up to them. Here’s hoping that what they have planned for the Nashville Predators doesn’t include taking a period or two to get their legs moving.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES10-0-05-5-0
POWER PLAY%26.319.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR34.130.8
TEAM SAVE%.911.920
CORSI FOR%55.5649.91
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • The Edmonton Oilers hold an 8-2-1 advantage over Nashville in their past 11 meetings, and have outscored the Preds by a 47-26 margin. This afternoon’s game will be the third and final meeting of the season series. The clubs have split the first two games with the Oilers winning 6-1 in Nashville on October 17 but dropping a 5-2 decision at Rogers Place back on November 4th.
  • Kris Knoblauch has compiled a sparkling 25-6 record since being named Oilers head coach in mid-November, including a remarkable 23-3 run since November 24. Following the Oilers’ 3-0 win versus Chicago, Knoblauch extended the NHL’s longest winning streak by a head coach in their 1st season to 15 games.
  • Worried about the Oilers keeping the streak alive during the daylight hours? I get it, and your feelings are valid. The Oilers have an all-time record of 64-83-23 in games that start at 3 pm (local time) or earlier.
  • New guy Corey Perry leads all active Oilers with 54 career games played against the Predators while Leon Draisaitl occupies the top spot in points with 39 total.




Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – RNH – Foegele
Holloway – McLeod – Perry
Janmark – Ryan – Brown
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
I’m not going to lie: I’m excited to watch Corey Perry play as an Oiler. I never thought we’d ever get here given the fact that I’ve hated him for two decades, but now that he’s on our side, I’m looking forward to him being a rat out there. Just me? Can’t be.


Forsberg – O’Reilly – Nyquist
Novak – Glass – Evangelista
Trenin – Sissons – Gurianov
Smith – McCarron – Sherwood
Josi – Fabbro
McDonagh – Schenn
Lauzon – Carrier
The Predators have been incredibly mediocre lately, and that sets the table for the Oilers to continue this heater provided that they can keep the details of their game locked in. If the plan is to take two periods to get going again, then we could be in trouble. If the boys play as we know they can, however, this game should be a fantastic punctuation mark on what has been a ridiculous start to 2024.


From Nashville Hockey Now:
Since their 13-3 run from Nov. 18 to Dec. 16, the Nashville Predators have been a model of inconsistency.
They’ve alternated wins and losses with regularity in the five-plus weeks since, never winning more than two games in a row with a three-game losing streak along the way.
But as the Predators near the March 8 trade deadline, general manager Barry Trotz must decide if his present-day roster needs some tweaking for a potential late-April playoff run or if the .500 hockey the Predators have played following the Christmas break is the best this team is capable of.
Either way, expect the Predators to be active once the trade deadline gets closer.
“I spent the whole time on this last (road) trip phoning different general managers,” Trotz said during a recent radio appearance on 102.5 The Game. “They’ve been doing the same thing, but I’d be ready to do something and they’re not because they don’t have cap space. It’s one of those things, so it’s trying to find the right fit. I think we’re going to be able to do a couple of things at the trade deadline.”
Trotz has spoken to multiple teams regarding Tyson Barrie, however, a deal hasn’t been struck yet because he hasn’t been able to make the financials work with many of the interested parties being close to the cap floor.
The Predators have also received interest in goaltender Kevin Lankinen, but he’s more likely to fetch a draft pick or two instead of a player who can help the team score right now.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers wrap up a perfect month of January with a decisive 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl continues his warlord status over the Nashville Predators, finishing the game with a goal and an assist.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Corey Perry scores a goal in his first game as an Oiler that draws a coaching challenge. The goal ends up counting, but ultimately acts as an appropriate start to the Perry era in Edmonton.

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