The Nashville Predators arrive in Edmonton for the third stop on their four-game road trip. They’ve already made successful appearances in Winnipeg and Calgary with wins of 2-1 and 3-2. The Predators needed overtime to get the win in Winnipeg, but it’s two important points regardless. They need all of the points they can get down the stretch, as the Predators seek to erase a slow start in the 2019-20 campaign.
Even if they play well down the stretch, it may not be enough to overcome the Stars or Avalanche in the Central Division. Their next window of opportunity would be more manageable. They’re only a point behind the Flames for the final wildcard and trailing the Coyotes by two points for the first wildcard in the Western Conference. They’ve helped their own cause out recently with wins in four of their last five outings.
That provides the Predators with a very good opportunity to get into the playoffs despite the sluggish first-half. They carry a record of 26-20-7 and 59 points into tonight. That puts them well off the pace from last season when they finished first in the Central Division with a record of 47-29-6 and 100 points. Playing above the competition in the regular season hasn’t worked for the Predators in the playoffs, so we’ll see if just barely getting into the playoffs works in their favour.
You never really know how teams respond when there is less pressure, and it’s not like the Predators have a bad roster. It might have just taken longer than usual for this team to gel than in the past, and the new head coach may be helping as well. That’s what John Hynes is hoping for anyway. Hynes was fired by the New Jersey Devils and the Predators replaced him with Peter Laviolette after the first-half did not go according to plan.
The Predators spent money on Matt Duchene in the offseason, so it’s not like they were expecting to have a down season. They have a tough test on the road in Edmonton tonight, as they play a team who is competing with them for one of two wildcards. The Oilers have a better chance of winning their division, though, as they’re just three points behind the Canucks in the Pacific Division. The Oilers are on the heels of a really poor performance against the San Jose Sharks, a 6-3 loss at home on Thursday night. Head below for our free Predators vs. Oilers pick.
Nashville Predators vs. Edmonton Oilers Betting Odds:
Predators vs. Oilers Prediction:
The Oilers have gone on a small two-game skid since a 8-3 blowout win over the Flames this past Saturday night. They looked severely unprepared in a 3-0 loss against the Coyotes and 6-3 against the Sharks. With the Sharks struggling and losing the services of Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, they don’t look like much of a threat. However, the Oilers were no shows and didn’t get the news that the Sharks were without a couple of their most dangerous playmakers.
Those are the games that the Oilers cannot afford to lose at this point. For the most part, it’s been more positive than negative for the Oilers from the start of January to now. In their previous ten outings, the Oilers have scored 4.2 goals per game as opposed to 3.2 goals against. The defence and goaltending could certainly be better, and it’s likely going to have to pick up in the home stretch.
Statistically, the Oilers have been an average team with 3.17 goals per game and 3.13 goals allowed. They’re +2 on the season, with two more goals scored than given up in 2019-20. With that in mind, the Oilers are fortunate to be 28-20-6 with 62 points. In contrast, the Golden Knights are a +9 and the Canucks are a +12. That’s not always the best barometer for success, though. Just look at the Avalanche who are a +42, yet still trail the Blues by 6 points. The same goes for the Predators, who’ve been rather average this season.
Nashville has scored 3.25 goals per game and 3.23 goals against in 2019-20. The Predators are even with no differential between goals scored and goals allowed with a ratio of 0 on the season. The offence has not been getting it done of late, though. Note that they’ve scored just 2.4 goals per game in their previous ten games.
The Preds have not scored greater than three goals since January 30 against a terrible New Jersey defence. This should be a good contest between two even teams, but I’m expecting the Oilers to have the upper-hand here at home. The Predators are in the midst of a lengthy road trip, while the Oilers have been home in Alberta for nearly a week now. This is likely a spot where the Preds get too comfortable after winning their first two games of the road trip. The value appears to be with the Oilers at a nice price on Saturday.