The Edmonton Oilers gave the opportunity to tie their season-high winning streak Friday, as they take on the Nashville Predators before taking to the road.
Edmonton recalled forward Anton Lander from Bakersfield to slot in as the fourth line winger, with Jujhar Khaira out with an upper-body injury. While there are no updates as to the severity of the ailment, Todd McLellan gave a brief update following Wednesday’s win.
The Oilers will look to stay in the race for the Pacific Division lead Thursday with a Central Division matchup. Edmonton has 8-2-1 record against the Central Division this season. However, they’ve lost six straight matchups against Nashville. A huge reason behind their struggles is the outstanding play of Pekka Rinne between the pipes. In his last six against the Oilers, Rinne boasts a .99 GAA and .965 save percentage.
The Oilers lines are expected to remain the same, except Anton Lander will draw in on the fourth line wing in Khaira’s place. As for the defensive corps, Matthew Benning looks ready to draw back in after missing Wednesday’s matchup with Florida with an illness. He will replace Eric Gryba, who will draw out as a healthy scratch.
Cam Talbot will likely start between the pipes, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. Talbot has been excellent and sharp for the Oilers of late. Laurent Brossoit will back up.
– Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both hit the 100-point mark in Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime victory over Florida. Though McDavid was putting up points through the use of helpers, he had gone eight straight contests without a goal.
– Edmonton sits four points out of the Pacific Division lead, and are currently the third seat. They are one point behind San Jose, and overall, remain fifth in the Western Conference. This is quite a breakthrough for a team that is currently in the throes of a rebuild. Nashville is fighting for their playoff lives and currently hold the eighth seed in the West with 49 points.
– Nashville struggles on special teams and has mediocre success on both the power-play and penalty kill. The Oilers need to get something going on the man advantage, and they have the chance to do that against Nashville, who has just around 82 percent success on the PK.