Nashville Predators at Edmonton Oilers
When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 20, Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta, 10:05 p.m. EDT.
Connor McDavid has many points in the young season, but he has yet to be on the winning side of a game against Nashville. The superstar center looks to rectify that Saturday night when the Edmonton Oilers attempt to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Predators.
Preds wrap up swing through Alberta in Edmonton
Nashville (6-1-0) is playing games on back-to-back nights for the first time this season after opening a two-game road swing through the province Friday night in Calgary with a 5-3 victory for its fourth straight win.
Kevin Fiala and Filip Forsberg each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who are looking to open a season 4-0-0 on the road for the first time in franchise history. The only time they took points in their first four road games came in 2000-01 when they went 3-0-1.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) October 20, 2018
As one of the deeper teams in the league, the Predators thrived on the back end of playing on consecutive nights last season. Nashville posted a 8-1-2 mark in such games, and more impressive was that all but two of those 11 games were on the road, where Nashville was 7-0-2.
Coach Peter Laviolette has made it a point to give No. 2 goaltender Juuse Saros work early, and the Finn has responded with a pair of victories while stopping 46 of 51 shots in his two starts. Saros, though, entered the game with 14:51 to play after Pekka Rinne got hurt and stopped all nine shots he saw.
Saros — who started all 11 of those games on the back end of consecutive days in 2017-18 — was victories in his lone start against the Oilers, recording a 46-save shutout in a 4-0 victory at Edmonton on Dec. 14.
“Just because we have the backup in doesn’t mean we can’t win,” Preds defenseman Yannick Weber told the club’s official website after practice Thursday. “Juuse gives us a chance to win every game he plays. We’ve seen it already this year, too, and we have a lot of confidence in him. It’s great to have that insurance back there.”
— FOX Sports Tennessee (@PredsOnFSTN) October 16, 2018
McDavid seemingly everywhere for Oilers
McDavid has factored on all but two of Edmonton’s 13 goals, totaling four goals and seven assists. He has recorded multi-point games in each of the last three wins for the Oilers (3-2-0), who opened their home slate with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl‘s winning goal in the first minute of the extra period and picked up a helper on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins‘ power-play tally in the third period by banking a pass off the end boards around the net.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 19, 2018
McDavid is just the third player in Oilers history with 11 or more points through the first five games of a season, joining Jari Kurri and Wayne Gretzky — who accomplished the feat seven times — but it was the patience in setting up Draisaitl that earned the praise of the goal-scorer and his coach.
“I think [McDavid’s] defensive game is underrated,” Draisaitl told the club’s official website. “He’s so good at anticipating and reading plays. You saw it there. He baited the guy a little bit, waited for that pass, then took the pass and then took off.”
“He made a smart play to stay high because he had a D-man down low,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan added. “We were just contemplating in there that you never know with Connor if he was baiting the pass, knowing he could pick it off. I think he maybe was. He knows his speed, his pace and timed it so that it looked like they could make that play and he picked it off and went the other way.”
McDavid has 10 goals and 18 assists during a 13-game points streak at home and has racked up 17 goals and 21 assists in his last 18 games at Rogers Place. He has three goals and four assists in eight career games versus the Predators, but the Oilers have gone 0-7-1 in those contests.
That is part of Edmonton’s 12-game winless streak (0-10-2) against Nashville that dates back to a 5-1 home victory March 18, 2014. Defenseman Matt Benning has been ruled out of this game due to injury, while McDavid’s linemate and right wing Ty Rattie is day-to-day.
Cam Talbot is expected to be in goal again after turning aside 27 shots — with 12 saves coming in the first period to keep the Oilers in the contest during a slow start. He has stopped 79 of 86 shots during Edmonton’s three-game winning streak but is 0-6-1 with a 2.89 goals-against average in seven starts against Nashville since joining the Oilers in 2015.
The Oilers are:
- 4-9 in their last 13 games vs. Central Division teams.
- 0-6 in their last six home games vs. the Predators.
- 29-65 in their last 94 games vs. teams with an above-.600 winning percentage.
- The under is 3-1-2 in their last six games vs. Central Division teams.
- The under is 7-1-4 in their last 12 games vs. the Predators.
- The under is 6-0 in their last six games playing on one day of rest.
The Predators are:
- 8-2 in their last 10 games playing on zero days’ rest.
- 4-1 in their last five Saturday games.
- The under is 3-0-3 in their last six road games vs. the Oilers.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While all good things must come to an end sometimes, Nashville’s depth at the back in both defense and goal means Laviolette’s team is primed to extend its winning streak against the Oilers and overall.
Nashville scored eight goals in its two wins at Edmonton last season, with Viktor Arvidsson bagging two in a 4-2 victory in the most recent visit March 1. Overall, the Predators have outscored the Oilers 36-15 during their 12-game run.
Prediction: Pick: Predators -125
Full-Game Total Pick
Given the stellar track record of Nashville’s defense during its winning streak over Edmonton, the under is the place-holder selection pending the release of the official number. Saros has been solid in his two starts backing up Rinne, and he is stepping into his comfort zone in this game as the guy who starts on the back end of games on consecutive nights.
Talbot has not played all that badly against Nashville since joining Edmonton, and that also contributes to the under being the pick at the moment.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 6 goals (-115)
Half-Time Side Pick
Nashville has been either tied or ahead in each match during its four-game winning streak and only trailed after 20 minutes in one of its 12 consecutive wins against Edmonton. That said, if there is an option to pick a draw, that may be the better play considering that has been the result in eight of the last 12 head-to-head matchups, which is why the Predators and the money line here is the pick.
Prediction: Pick: Predators -115
Half-Time Total Bet
This is more about Edmonton’s lack of jump in the opening period as there have been two or more goals in four of its five games thus far. The Oilers have been outscored 8-4 in the first 20 minutes of their games, with the only time they kept a clean sheet was in the most recent contest against Boston.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals (-130)