The halfway point of Nashville's four-game trip has been reached, and this evening in Edmonton, the Predators will face the Oilers in the third outing of their Western Canada swing. Tonight's contest marks Nashville's second trip to Edmonton in less than a month; the Preds fell to the Oilers, 4-2, back on Jan. 14.
The journey has been kind to the Preds thus far, and after starting with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Jets on Tuesday, Nashville went into Calgary on Thursday and topped the Flames by a 3-2 final to gain more ground in the Western Conference standings.
Entering Friday night's action, the Predators were just one point back of the Flames for the second Wild Card spot with two games in hand. If they can find success tonight in the NHL's northernmost city, Nashville could be right back in the mix for a playoff spot with just under two months to go in the regular season.
"A lot of these guys have been through the struggles, and for me as a first-year player, I'm still learning how to handle that kind of stuff and whatnot, but I think our confidence is continuing to grow," Preds defenseman Dante Fabbro said. "And not just confidence level, but our team play as well. It's been huge, and it's helped us out tremendously. We're building it out from the defense to the offense, and you can see how we're playing and how good we are as a team right now. We've just got to continue on the right path."
The Predators practiced on Friday afternoon in Edmonton and were once again joined by Ryan Ellis (upper-body injury, Injured Reserve) and Calle Jarnkrok (illness). Neither of them have played on the trip, and while Jarnkrok's appearance back on the ice signals a return could be imminent, Ellis is not expected to play in either of the next two games in Canada.
Video: Josi, Turris collect two points as Preds beat Flames
Last Time Out:
Fabbro, Kyle Turris and Mikael Granlund tallied for the Preds in their win on Thursday night in Calgary, while Juuse Saros made 37 saves en route to his second-straight win to start the trip.
Josi had two assists in the victory to give him 53 points in 53 games to lead the Preds. Filip Forsberg has 38 points on the season, Matt Duchene has 35, and Nick Bonino, Ryan Johansen and Mattias Ekholm all have 30 points apiece. Forsberg is tops on the team with 18 goals, followed by Bonino with 16 and Josi with 14.
The Oilers put up eight on the Flames last Saturday, but Edmonton has dropped two-straight, including a 6-3 decision at home to San Jose on Thursday. The NHL's top two scorers - Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid - lead the Oilers with 83 and 80 points, respectively.
McDavid has tallied 30 goals on the season, Draisaitl has 29 and former Preds forward James Neal has 19 tallies. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 37 points for the Oilers and Oscar Klefbom has 30. Mikko Koskinen is 15-11-2 on the season; Mike Smith is 13-9-4 in net.
The Predators are 44-25-(3)-3 all-time against the Oilers, including a 22-12-(0)-3 record on the road.
Nashville has won 14 of its last 16 games against Edmonton, with 13 of those wins coming consecutively from Oct. 29, 2014 to Oct. 20, 2018. During the streak, the Preds outscored the Oilers 40-15 and limited them to two-or-fewer goals 12 times, including five shutouts.
The Preds have won seven of their last eight games away from home against the Oilers, and Nashville has won at least nine in a row over Edmonton two separate times, with the first coming from Nov. 1, 2006 to Oct. 30, 2008.
Notables Versus Edmonton:
Ryan Johansen has nine points (1g-8a) in his last 11 games against the Oilers dating back to March 14, 2016. Kyle Turris had eight points (4g-4a) during a four-game point streak versus the Oilers from Oct. 20, 2016 to Dec. 14, 2017, and has posted six multi-point games against them in his career.
Viktor Arvidsson has points in four of his last six games (4g-2a) against Edmonton, and Filip Forsberg has averaged a point per game in his career versus the Oilers, tallying 15 points (9g-6a) in 15 games. He became the second player in NHL history to score a lacrosse-style goal in Nashville's last game against Edmonton on Jan. 14.
Watch & Listen:
Coverage for this evening's 6 p.m. (CT) puck drop from Rogers Place begins with Predators Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 5:30 p.m. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Lyndsay Rowley have the call on the television side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Pregame coverage on the radio side begins at 5 p.m. with Darren McFarland. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here.
Tonight's Preds Official Watch Party takes place at Draft Picks Restaurant at Ford Ice Center Bellevue. Click here for more information.
If the Predators are playing hockey, you can count on the game being on at Preds Approved Bars & Restaurants. Locations throughout Tennessee may be seen by clicking here.
Listen to a Live Radio Feed (only active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game on the Fox Sports Go App or Watch on NHL.TV