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Predators at Oilers preview

Nashville visits Edmonton with eyes on sixth straight win, sole possession of first place in Western Conference

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

PREDATORS (39-14-9) at OILERS (27-32-4)

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


The Game

The Nashville Predators will go for a season-high sixth consecutive win when they visit the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Thursday. 

The Predators are first in the Central Division, four points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, and tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for first in the Western Conference.

A Predators victory will give David Poile the most wins by a general manager (1,320) in NHL history, surpassing Glen Sather.

Edmonton is sixth in the Pacific Division, 17 points behind the Los Angeles Kings for third, and 16 behind the Anaheim Ducks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.


Players to watch

Predators right wing Craig Smith is on an eight-game point streak (four goals, five assists).

Oilers left wing Pontus Aberg will play against the Predators for the first time since being traded to Edmonton by Nashville for center Mark Letestu on Feb. 25. Aberg had an assist in his Oilers debut, a 5-2 loss at the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.


They said it

"They have a dangerous team and they're still playing hard. No matter where you sit in the standings, any team is dangerous. Obviously, their season hasn't gone the way they've like, which presents a dangerous beast, you could say." -- Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis

"It's going to be fun to play them, they're a good team. I don't know if I have anything to prove. I just want to play the game and show the things everyone wants to see out there from me." -- Oilers forward Pontus Aberg


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Ryan Hartman

Kevin Fiala -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith

Scott Hartnell -- Nick Bonino -- Calle Jarnkrok

Austin Watson -- Colton Sissons -- Viktor Arvidsson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Miikka Salomaki, Matt Irwin

Injured: None 


Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Anton Slepyshev

Michael Cammalleri -- Leon Draisaitl -- Ty Rattie

Jesse Puljujarvi -- Ryan Strome -- Pontus Aberg

Drake Caggiula -- Jujhar Khaira -- Iiro Pakarinen

Darnell Nurse -- Kris Russell

Andrej Sekera -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Yohann Auvitu

Injured: Ryan, Nugent-Hopkins (ribs), Adam Larsson (personal), Zack Kassian (leg)


Status report

Russell is a game-time decision. He's missed the past two games after blocking a shot with his hand Saturday … Bear is expected to make his NHL debut. He was recalled up from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.


Stat pack

Josi has 12 points (goal, 11 assists) in a five-game point streak. … McDavid has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past six games.

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