Oilers v. Wild - Proverbs 12:15-19

Fools think their own way is always right,
But wise people carefully listen to the arguments of others.

A fool is quick-tempered and turns to ad hominem attacks,
But wise people will stay calm when they are insulted.

A wise person looks hard at all of the available data,
But a fool will look only for evidence that helps his argument.

Fools are sometimes excellent at biting insults,
But wise people try to bring understanding.

Truthful words stand up to the test of time,
But lies and misunderstandings are quickly exposed.

Minnesota Wild (20-10-5) @ Edmonton Oilers (14-16-3)

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Wild come to Edmonton having lost five games in a row, and four of those by just a single goal. Yet even with that little downturn, the Wild are still doing very well for themselves in one-goal games with a 14-9 record compared to a record of just 6-6 in games decided by two or more. Interestingly, the Oilers have the exact same winning percentage in games decided by two or more (they're 9-9), but they've been crushed in games decided by one (they're 5-10). It's amazing that two teams so close together in clear victories have such a wide gap in their results ingames decided by one, but so far, the way the two teams have played in the close games has largely determined their seasons.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (14-16-3):

Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Gagner - Belanger - Jones
Eager - Lander - Petrell

Smid - Gilbert
Whitney - Potter
Peckham - Petry


Khabibulin

Minnesota Wild (20-10-5):

Bouchard - Koivu - Heatley
Powe - Cullen - Clutterbuck
Gillies - Brodziak - Johnson
Rau - Peters - Staubitz

Schultz - Lundin
Scandella - Spurgeon
Zidlicky - Stoner

Backstrom

By the Numbers:

  • In the opening I talked about how well the Wild have done in close games. What makes that even more amazing is that the Wild are actually dead last in Fenwick percentage with the score tied at even strength (42.4%), which you'd think would leave them falling behind a lot. And they have! The Wild have scored the first goal in just 13 of their 35 games so far this year, but they've been one of the best teams in the league at coming back: their record in games where the other team scores first is12-8-2, good enough for a .591 points percentage, which is the best in the NHL.
  • So are their possession stats better when they're down a goal? Yes... but not really. The Wild have a Fenwick percentage of 53.3% when down by one, and 50.8% when down by two, but that sounds a lot better than it is. It's good enough for just 22nd and 26th respectively.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are both among the top twenty scorers in the NHL, but they're accumulating points in slightly different ways. Nugent-Hopkins is third in the NHL in power play points with 17 (the leader has 18), while Eberle is tied for tenth in even strength points with 23 (the leader has 29).
  • The trials of Ales Hemsky have begun, and I'll admit that I've been seeing bad myself in these last few games. And yet... the Oilers do best in terms of possession when Hemsky is on the ice (his on-ice Corsi is +6.5 per sixty minutes). Of course, the Oilers have also been outscored by a fairly large margin with Hemsky on the ice, in part because his on-ice shooting percentage is just 6.9% during five-on-five play, and in part because all of the Corsi advantage is coming in the form of missed shots. If we count just actual shots on goal, the Oilers are outshot 28.0 to 26.4 for every sixty minutes of five-on-five play where Hemsky is on the ice. These guys need to start hitting the net!
  • The bottom five Oilers in PDO are Darcy Hordichuk, Corey Potter, Anton Lander, Magnus Paajarvi, and Lennart Petrell. That's three guys who could easily have started the season in the AHL, one guy who'd be an awful AHL player, and another guy who's in the AHL now. If we're looking to find players who drive shot quality, maybe it's time to look to the bottom of rosters instead of looking at the top.
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