After losing their first match in regulation for the 2014-15 campaign, the Nashville Predators will get back on the ice tonight in Edmonton. In their last outing, the Predators lost to the Pittsburg Penguins 3-0. Unlike previous games this season, the Preds struggled during the 3rd period, giving up 2 goals.
Over the past few days, the Nashville Predators organization has made changes with the lineup. Matt Cullen has been activated into the lineup from his IR status. This will be Cullen’s first action of 2014-15. One forward inserted into the lineup meant that one had to go elsewhere. Fan favorite, Rich Clune, was placed on waivers. If Clune clears waivers, he will report to Milwaukee and join the Admirals for the possibility of a later recall to Nashville. The Predators also sent Viktor Stalberg to Milwaukee for a conditioning assignment.
The Edmonton Oilers (4-4-1) started off the season on a bad note. Losing the first five games of the season with a -14 goal differential can be demoralizing. The Oilers organization has hung in and won the last 4 games. In their last outing, Edmonton blanked the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. The Oilers are being led in Goals, Points, +/-, and Shots-on-Goal by Taylor Hall. Hall has been outstanding for the Oilers with 8 points, 5 goals, 3 assists, +4 rating, and 32 shots on net.
Keys to watch
Newly activated, Matt Cullen will look to contribute right away in the lineup tonight. Last season, Cullen produced solid results for the Preds with 39 points, +4 rating, and the ability to add on the Penalty Kill. Only time will tell if Coach Laviolette will ration his playing time or if he will play regular minutes in tonight’s game.
Struggles against Edmonton
Last year, the Preds struggled mightily against the Oilers. The two franchises faced off against each other on three separate occasions last year and Edmonton won all three. With a combined score of 8-1, the Preds look to erase last year’s mishap and take the win in Edmonton.
Goalies: Advantage PREDS
Statistically, when you compare the two teams’ goalies the advantage has to go to the Predators. The Oilers goalies have allowed double the amount that the Preds have allowed (32/16). In my opinion, when you have Pekka Rinne in net, there are very few starting goalies in the NHL that have competed on his level this year in the league.
**Don’t ask me about the Power Play. It’s a sore subject.
The Preds/Oilers matchup is set for 9:00pm CST. Predator fans will have to stay up to support the team. The game will be televised on FS-TN or you can listen live on 102.5 THE GAME!