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Preview: Oilers at Predators

Nashville defenseman Roman Josi may return; Edmonton has eye on first place in Pacific Division

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

OILERS (28-16-8) at PREDATORS (24-18-8)

8 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-TN, NHL.TV


Oilers team scope

The Edmonton Oilers are 7-1-1 in their past nine games. They begin a three-game road trip two points behind the first-place San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division and one point behind the second-place Anaheim Ducks. Goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to start after being pulled in the second period of a 5-2 home loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, when he allowed four goals on 19 shots. "You just try to learn from it," Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. "Obviously not our best effort last time. They dominated us pretty good against Minnesota so you don't throw it out. You learn from it and try to be better tonight." Forward Leon Draisaitl has nine points (four goals, five assists) in a seven-game point streak. Forward Milan Lucic will play in his 700th NHL game.


Predators team scope

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, who has missed eight games with an upper-body injury, participated in the morning skate and in a full practice Wednesday, but it is unclear if he will play. Josi was injured in a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 12. Nashville defeated Edmonton 3-2 in a shootout on Jan. 20 in a tough, physical game, and the Predators expect the same Thursday. "It's probably going to be similar," forward Filip Forsberg said. "They have some guys that want to run and we have some guys that want to run as well. I think that's how everyone wants to play, hard and physical." The Predators are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games but lost 4-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is expected to start; he's 5-2-0 with 15 goals allowed in his past seven starts. Defenseman Matt Irwin will play in his 200th game in the NHL.


Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Patrick Maroon

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Milan Lucic -- Drake Caggiula -- Anton Slepyshev

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Brandon Davidson -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Anton Lander

Injured: Andrew Ference (lower body), Jujhar Khaira (upper body), Darnell Nurse (ankle), Iiro Pakarinen (lower body), Tyler Pitlick (torn ACL)


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Austin Watson -- Mike Fisher -- Craig Smith

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Cody McLeod -- Colton Sissons -- Harry Zolnierczyk

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Ryan Ellis

Anthony Bitetto -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Derek Grant, Brad Hunt, Mike Ribeiro

Injured: Roman Josi (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body)


Status report

Oilers coach Todd McLellan said there could be some changes to the lines before game time. … The Predators held an optional morning skate but used the same lines from the game against Pittsburgh in practice Wednesday.


Who's hot

McDavid has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past seven games and leads the NHL with 59 points (17 goals, 42 assists). … Sekera has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak. … Jarnkrok has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak. …. Johansen has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games.

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