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Predators at Oilers preview

Nashville seeks third straight win; Goalie Smith to play 600th NHL game

by Derek Van Diest / Independent Correspondent

PREDATORS (26-20-7) at OILERS (28-20-6)

7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, SNW, FS-TN, NHL.TV 


The Game

Mike Smith will play his 600th NHL game when the Edmonton Oilers host the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place on Saturday.

The goalie is 6-0-2 with a .914 save percentage in his past eight starts for Edmonton, which has lost two straight after going 7-1-1 in its previous nine games. 

Goalie Pekka Rinne is expected to start for the Predators, who have won two straight and are 5-2-0 in their past seven games after being 3-6-1 in its previous 10 games.

Nashville hasn't won three straight games since winning four straight from Oct. 22-29.


Players to watch

Predators defenseman Roman Josi has 53 points (14 goals, 39 assists) in 53 games this season and had two assists in a 3-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Thursday. 

Oilers center Connor McDavid has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. 


They said it

"We're starting to build more confidence with every game and we're sticking to our game plan. The games we've played (on the road trip) we've gotten down a couple goals or by a goal and you're seeing our fight back and our push back and it's been pretty impressive." -- Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro after practice Friday 

"The other night (6-3 loss against the San Jose Sharks) just wasn't good enough for us. We know this is a big game and these guys have been rolling here as of late and they're going to make things hard for us, so we have to make sure we have a good start and continue that work all the way through." -- Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins  


Predators projected lineup

Matt Duchene -- Ryan Johansen -- Mikael Granlund

Filip Forsberg -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith

Rocco Grimaldi -- Nick Bonino -- Viktor Arvidsson

Yakov Trenin -- Colton Sissons -- Colin Blackwell

Roman Josi -- Dante Fabbro

Jarred Tinordi -- Mattias Ekholm

Dan Hamhuis -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Austin Watson, Matt Irwin

Injured: Ryan Ellis (upper body), Calle Jarnkrok (illness)


Oilers projected lineup

Sam Gagner -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Leon Draisaitl -- Kailer Yamamoto

Tyler Benson -- Gaetan Haas -- Alex Chiasson

Jujhar Khaira -- Riley Sheahan -- Josh Archibald

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Caleb Jones -- Matt Benning

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Patrick Russell, William Lagesson

Injured: Joakim Nygard (hand), Kris Russell (concussion), James Neal (foot)


Status report

Nashville did not have a morning skate. … Ellis practiced on Friday but the defenseman is not expected to play. … Jarnkrok, a forward, has missed the past four games with an illness but could play. … Neal did not participate in an optional morning skate for Edmonton on Saturday. The forward will miss his fifth straight game. … Jones will return to the lineup in place of Lagesson.


Stat pack

Granlund has five points (four goals, one assist) in his past six games. …Draisaitl has 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in his past 13 games. He does not have a point in his past two games, the third time this season he's gone two straight games without a point. ... Nugent-Hopkins has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his past 13 games.

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