Oilers v. Red Wings - Judges 4:1-3

Once the losing appeared to be behind them, the Oilers did what was evil in God's sight, and became filled with hubris about their own ability. And so God began to give them into the hands of their enemies both Eastern and Western. Holland, the commander of the Red Wings, was based in Detroit. Because Holland had consistently built one of the best teams in the league, and because those teams had cruelly oppressed the entire Conference for twenty years, the Oilers turned from their hubris and cried out for God to help them.

 

Edmonton Oilers (9-4-2) @ Detroit Red Wings (7-5-1)

Joe Louis Arena, 5:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Oilers

More analysis after the jump...

Home Team Scouting Report

The Red Wings have had an interesting start to the season. They began with five straight wins, followed that with six straight losses, and then demolished the Ducks and Avalanche to get back on track. The club is still a pretty good one, but they're getting further and further removed from the dominant team that went to the Cup finals two years in a row. Their goal differential has declined from +78 and +51 in the two seasons that they made the SCFs to +13 and +20 in their last two seasons. The biggest reason, to my mind, is a procurement department that just hasn't procured well enough. Their best player under twenty-five is probably Darren Helm, and their best player under thirty is probably Valtteri Filppula. Those are both fine players, of course, but neither is able to carry a top line in the NHL, and as the core group continues to age, the Red Wings will have a hard time avoiding  a more pronounced decline.

 

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (9-4-2):

Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Jones - Belanger - Gagner

Paajarvi - Lander - Petrell

Smid - Gilbert
Sutton - Potter
Peckham - Petry


Khabibulin

Detroit Red Wings (7-5-1):

Cleary - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Filppula - Zetterberg - Franzen
Abdelkader - Helm - Hudler
Miller - Emmerton - Eaves

Lidstrom - White
Kronwall - Stuart
Ericsson - Kindl

Howard

 

By the Numbers:

  • The last time the Oilers came into a game with Red Wings as the team with the better record, was actually October 29, 2009. The Oilers had a record of 6-5-1 compared to just 4-4-2 for Detroit. The Oilers went on to finish in last place while the Red Wings made it to the second round of the playoffs.
  • One of the best ways to measure shot quality would be through measuring shot distance. Unfortunately, the league's scorers make a lot of mistakes in this regard that they don't go back to correct. For example, Ryan Smyth's first goal last night is registered as a tip-in from 33 feet away - Smyth was standing right in front of the crease.
  • Andy Sutton is back in the lineup tonight, taking the place of Cam Barker who's already gone back to Edmonton with a sore ankle. Sutton will provide the Oilers with some added toughness, and probably an extra penalty to kill too. Sutton comes into tonight 7th worst in the league (min. 10 GP) in penalties taken (2.7) and 5th worst in penalty differential (-2.4) per sixty minutes of five-on-five ice time. But that's not exactly a surprise: Sutton's been among the league's bottom thirty (min. 20 GP) in penalties taken in two of the last three seasons.
  • Just fourteen players have averaged a point per game and played in 400 games since the 2005 lockout, and two of them play for the Red Wings: Pavel Datsyuk is fifth on that points per game list at 1.09, and Henrik Zetterberg is 13th at 1.03. The Oilers, unsurprisingly, don't have a representative. Th most surprising name on the list? Jason Spezza who stands fourth at 1.10.
  • Tom Renney has been aggressive in making sure to get Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle on the ice in favorable circumstances, but that hasn't kept him from giving them plenty of ice time. The three youngsters stand 3rd, 4th, and 5th among the team's forwards in ice time per game with each guy playing between 16.5 and 17.5 minutes per game.
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