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Oilers - Predators Game Day

The Predators host the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the Sommet Center, and by my count, this marks the 18th time in 19 home games that the Predators have hosted a game against a team that has played the night before; last night, the Oilers won in St. Louis 3-2 in overtime, on the strength of two goals by Dustin Penner (a nice boost for the Fab Forecheckers, my fantasy hockey team).  Before winning last night against the Blues, Edmonton had gone 0-4-2 in their last six to seperate themselves from the rest of the Northwest Division, seven points behind 4th-place Colorado.   Even their 17-20-4 record is a bit overly optimistic, as 10 of those victories have come via the shootout, rather than during regular action.  You have to give credit to the Oilers for their success in the post-overtime spectacle, but it's hardly a reliable way to rack up points in the standings.  In their only previous meeting this season on November 2nd, the Predators won 4-1 in Edmonton, during their successful western Canada road trip.
On the Nashville side, it looks like David Legwand and Ryan Suter will continue to recover from various injuries despite practicing Wednesday, while Shea Weber will likely be out for another week.  The relevant question, as posited by John Glennon of the Tennessean yesterday, is what Barry Trotz will do with rookie Ville Koistinen when the regulars return to the lineup.  Koistinen has been outstanding (arguably their best 5-on-5 player) so far this year, particularly since Christmas as he's logged 20+ minutes a game and has shown great poise playing alongside Marek Zidlicky at even strength, and on the power play has consistently gotten the puck on net, a failing of other Nashville blueliners so far.  Will GM David Poile address the blue line glut via trade?  I would think that unlikely, until he knows for sure whether Steve Sullivan can come back as a healthy contributor.  But if any Eastern Conference teams are looking for some young defensemen and have a scoring winger to offer in trade, please contact the Predators front office, won't you?
In goal, Dan Ellis gets the start after his 1-0 shutout in Dallas on New Year's Eve.  Tonight, the Predators are running a promotion where the donation of a non-perishable food item will get kids a $1 ticket to the game, so we're going to bring all 3 of the Little Forecheckers tonight and allow them a late night out since school is still on winter break.  By all means get the word out to your friends and coworkers, and let them know about this cheap family night out...

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