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Game Day: Preds vs. Oilers

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(21-18-8) Nashville Predators vs. Edmonton Oilers (19-25-5)
  9 P.M. CT | Rexall Place | #NSHvsEDM
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game


The Nashville Predators head west to the province of Alberta to face the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Rexall Place. The clubs will play their second of three meetings this season; the Preds topped the Oilers 2-0 back in October.

Nashville most recently defeated the Winnipeg Jets by a 4-1 score on Thursday, pushing their record to 2-1-1 in their last four outings. Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith, James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok all scored against the Jets, and Pekka Rinne stopped 26 of 27 shots for his 17th victory of the season. The Oilers fell 3-2 to the Dallas Stars on Thursday and have two wins in their last eight contests.

Johansen, who was acquired via trade from Columbus on Jan. 6, has been stellar for the Preds thus far, posting nine points (3g-6a) in his first seven games with the club. He notched his 200th career point (an assist) on Jan. 16 vs. Minnesota. Johansen has averaged 1.29 points per game with the Predators since arriving in Nashville.
 
Defenseman Roman Josi played in his 300th career NHL game on Thursday night in Winnipeg, having posted 162 points (48g-114a) in his first 300 games (all with Nashville). Among 2008 NHL Draft blueliners, Josi ranks seventh in points. With an assist on Thursday at Winnipeg, he passed Dan Hamhuis for sole possession of the fifth spot on the franchise’s points by a defenseman list.  

Josi leads the Preds in scoring this season with 33 points, including 10 goals. Captain Shea Weber, Mike Ribeiro, Filip Forsberg and Neal are all tied for second on the club with 29 points apiece. Neal's 17 goals lead the team, while Ribeiro's 24 helpers pace the Predators in the category. Forsberg (13), Weber (11) and Smith (10) have all hit double digits in goals this season. Rinne owns a 17-15-7 record between the pipes in 2015-16; backup Carter Hutton is 4-2-1.

Weber has 10 points (3g-7a) in his last 13 outings against the Oilers; Ribeiro has 36 points (10g-26a) in 40 career games against Edmonton, including 11 multi-point outings.

Taylor Hall leads Edmonton in goals and points with 18 and 47, respectively. Leon Draisaitl is second on the team with 36 points, including 11 goals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is third on the club in scoring, but is currently on Injured Reserve. Forwards Jordan Eberle and Teddy Purcell have 11 goals each on the campaign. Cam Talbot is 9-14-3 in net for the Oilers; Anders Nilsson is 10-11-2.

Nashville swept the season series in 2014-15, and have won four consecutive games by a combined score of 10-3. All-time, the Preds are 34-23-6 against Edmonton, including a 16-11-3 record at Rexall Place.


Predators Game Day Video:

What to Watch for: Pete and Stu Breakdown


Projected Lineups:

The Preds held an optional morning skate on Saturday. Below is the team's projected lineup based on the lines and pairings used for Thursday's contest versus the Winnipeg Jets.

Nashville Predators:

Forwards
Kevin Fiala Ryan Johansen James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Miikka Salomaki Mike Fisher Calle Jarnkrok
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Cody Bass
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm Petter Granberg

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Austin Watson, (F) Colin Wilson (IR; lower-body)


Edmonton Oilers:

Forwards
Taylor Hall Leon Draisaitl Teddy Purcell
Nail Yakupov Benoit Pouliot Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks Anton Lander Rob Klinkhammer
Zack Kassian Mark Letestu Iiro Pakarinen
Defense
Griffin Reinhart Eric Gryba
Darnell Nurse Justin Schultz
Andrej Sekera Mark Fayne

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Goaltenders: Cam Talbot is the expected starter in net with Anders Nilsson serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Connor McDavid, (F) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, (D) Brandon Davidson, (D) Andrew Ference, (D) Oscar Klefbom, (D) Brad Hunt, (F) Luke Gazdic, (F) Lauri Korpikoski

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