Oilers v. Hurricanes - Acts 8:4-8

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Then all those who had been scattered during the summer preached the good news about Yahweh's favour on their team in the past year, how they had relied on God rather than their own efforts to great success (in heaven if not on earth).  Marc went to Tampa and began to preach the good news, but he was persecuted, and eventually run out of town.  Ryan and Fernando went to Chicago, and they too began by persecuting, running Ryan out of the city, but Fernando stayed and successfully preached the gospel; now the team simply waits for God's favour rather than relying on their own efforts.  Ethan went to Ohio, but he was hurt before he had time to preach the message of God.  Mike, on the other hand, went to Pittsburgh, and quickly converted Marc-Andre to the faith.  Finally, Patrick came to Carolina and proclaimed the faith he had learned in Edmonton!  When the team heard him and watched his performance on the ice, they all gave careful thought to what he said.  With shrieks and cries, impure hope was drained from all of the young players so that many who once worried about many things were now completely satisfied with their play.  Once their impure spirits were broken, the whole team rejoiced because they knew that success in this life was fleeting, and that in letting go of their concerns for winning, they were accumulating treasure in heaven.

Edmonton Oilers (4-6-2) @ Carolina Hurricanes (7-7-0)

RBC Center, 5:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report: 

The Hurricanes recently split a home-and-home series with the Florida Panthers, and they were probably fortunate to do that well.  After being thoroughly dominated by the Panthers in Florida, the Hurricanes were able to come back and play a better game in Raleigh to come away with the win.  In that the Oilers and Hurricanes both allow over thirty-three shots per game, this could be an "entertaining" affair, especially since both goaltenders have struggled with rebound control early on in the season.  if Joni Pitkanen is out for Carolina and Shawn Horcoff is out for the Oilers, you might be forgiven for thinking that you're watching the OHL - neither of these teams is all that good defensively to begin with, so removing one of the better defensive players from each side could open things up even more, and two of the most dynamic scorers in the game were playing in Ontario just a few months ago.  It could be a good night for both of them.  Skinner will no doubt see plenty of guys like Strudwick and Vandermeer, and the Hurricanes don't have much depth either, which could give the Oilers' young players some extra time with the puck in the offensive zone.


Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (4-6-2):

Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Penner - Cogliano - Eberle
- Brule - Jones
MacIntyre - Fraser - Stortini

Whitney - Vandermeer

Smid - Foster
Strudwick - Gilbert


Carolina Hurricanes (7-7-0)

Samsonov - Staal - LaRose
Skinner - Ruutu - Cole
Jokinen - Sutter - Dwyer
Tlusty - Matsumoto - Kostopoulos

Gleason - Corvo
McBain - Babchuk
Harrison - Carson



By the Numbers:

  • Last season, Joni Pitkanen led the NHL in time on ice per game with an average of 27:22 per game, including a league-leading 20:51 per game at even strength.  So far this season, Pitkanen's ice time has been cut back significantly.  Pitkanen is now clinging to a spot in the top thirty and seen his overall ice time reduced by nearly four minutes per game, down to 23:39.  Most of the difference has come at even strength where he's now down to an average of 17:28.  One thing that Edmonton fans are familiar with: Pitkanen has missed the last couple of games with an injury.
  • Tonight's game will include four of the top nine rookie scorers in the NHL.  I'm sure Oiler fans are already aware of Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle, but it's actually Carolina's Jeff Skinner who leads the league's rookies in scoring with twelve points in fourteen games.  Perhaps the most impressive part of his total is that nine of the twelve points have come at even strength, which gives Skinner more points at evens than any other rookie has overall.
  • After reaching a high of 102.9 after the game against Vancouver, Edmonton's PDO is now down to 101.9 (8.1% shooting percentage plus 93.8% save percentage).  The Oilers have now taken 247 shots at EV (excluding empty-net situations), and scored 20 goals; they have also allowed 308 shots and 19 goals.  The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are another team sitting on the wrong side of the playoff bubble despite some strong percentages at even strength - their PDO is 101.4 (9.1% Sh% + 92.2% Sv%, excluding the game against Washington since I couldn't find the data).  
  • Edmonton and Carolina are the worst two faceoff teams in the league.  The Oilers are currently 29th with an awful team FO% of 44.3%, and yet they're still closer to league average than they are to last place.  The Hurricanes team FO% of 38.1% is nearly unbelievable.  To put that in perspective, if the Oilers finished the year with 44.3% it would be the worst total in more than a decade.  And the Hurricanes aren't even close to that!  The three centers they're using most often are Eric Staal (40.1%), Brandon Sutter (33.5%), and Tuomo Ruutu (41.6%).  Of the ten other players to have taken at least one faceoff, nine of them have a winning percentage below 45%.
  • When the Oilers traded Riley Nash to the Hurricanes for a second-round pick in this year's draft, I wasn't thrilled to the say the least.  I thought Nash would develop into something really useful to this team, and while he still might have an NHL career, he's off to a very slow start with only four points in fifteen AHL games.  If there's any solace for Nash, it's that he delivered all four points in the last six games, which may indicate that he's finding his stride.

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