“Guys were kind of joking with me, ‘Don’t be nervous. You’ve only worked 20 years to get here,'” said Bear. “Don’t think too negative. Don’t think just too much of it. Know the way you play and just go out and play. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
Bear, 20, was drafted in the fifth round, 124th overall in 2015. In the AHL with Bakersfield this season, he has six goals and 10 assists in 34 games. He missed about a month with a concussion earlier in the season.
“It’s about a tough a test in your first game as you can have when you play against the Predators. We’ll see where he goes with it,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said.
Pontus Aberg will make his home debut for the Oilers. He was traded to Edmonton from Nashville on Sunday.
“I went out for dinner with a couple of guys last night,” Aberg said on Thursday. “It’s fresh, but it’s going to be fun to play them. They’re a good team. It’s going to be a lot fun out of there.”
Kris Russell, who missed Tuesday’s game in San Jose, will likely return to the lineup. Adam Larsson will miss the next two games as he’s returned to Sweden for his father’s funeral.
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Lucic – McDavid – Slepyshev
Cammalleri – Draisaitl – Rattie
Puljujarvi – Strome – Aberg
Caggiula – Khaira – Pakarinen
Nurse – Russell
Klefbom – Benning
Sekera – Bear
The Oilers are 0-9-2 in their last 11 games against the Predators. Catch the game on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m.