Oilers v. Wild - James 4:7-10

Submit yourselves, then, to the Lord your God in all that you do. For if you draw near to God before the puck is dropped, he will draw near to you when it is in play. Resist the Wild and they will run from you, and thus the game will be played in their zone. And i you take the lead, wash your hands of their filthy Lemairian traditions. If you fall behind, grieve, mourn, and wail for it is not just to lose to a team such as this. Don't just laugh it off or shrug your shoulders at yet another loss. For if you humble yourselves before the Lord, he will carry you to victory.

Edmonton Oilers (15-17-3) @ Minnesota Wild (20-12-6)

Rogers Arena, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Home Team Scouting Report:

Their record is excellent good, but they are bad. They should could still make the playoffs based on a great start. But in order for that to happen, their unsustainable tremendous goaltending will probably come back down to earth soon need to hold up over the long term. They'll also need to get a bit quite lucky or substantially improve their play at even strength.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (15-17-3):

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

Smid - Gilbert
Potter - Petry
Peckham - Teubert


Khabibulin

Minnesota Wild (20-12-6):

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

Zanon - Zidlicky
Schultz - Scandella
Falk - Prosser

Backstrom

By the Numbers:

  • The Minnesota Wild have a few guys without much NHL experience on the blue for tonight's game: Marco Scandella, Justin Falk, and Nate Prosser have played in just 119 NHL games combined. On the other hand, all three of those players have plenty of hockey experience. Scandella is the youngest, and he'll be 22 in February.
  • The Oilers are actually in a similar situation. Jeff Petry, Colten Teubert, and Corey Potter have just 103 NHL games combined, but none of them are rookie professionals. Teubert is the youngest, and he'll be 22 in March.
  • With so much inexperience on the blueline, you'd expect the Wild to be using their veterans in the tough spots. As such, it's somewhat surprising that Marek Zidlicky has had the easiest end-zone start ratio among the team's defenders, and that he ranks no higher than third by any of the three quality of competition metrics. It's not much of a surprise, then, to see Zidlicky leading the defenders my all of the possession metrics, and power play ice time. Too bad for them that he's having a tough season with respect to goals and assists (he's got just six points) because they sure could use another couple of good young assets via trade to help push the rebuild forward.
  • Another veteran with somewhat disappointing numbers is Dany Heatley who's on pace for just 24 goals, which would be the lowest total of his career. That said, he's also on pace for 235 shots on goal, which is only a touch below what you'd expect based on the number of shots he gets per game over his career (you'd expect 259 shots over 82 games). The biggest problem for Heatley has been a career-low shooting percentage of just 10.1%. If he finishes there, 2011-12 will be the fifth consecutive season that his shooting percentage has declined.
  • Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth, and Ryan Jones are all on pace to score at least 20 goals this season. The last time the Oilers had five guys score twenty has 2002-03 when Ryan Smyth, Anson Carter, Mike York, Mike Comrie, and Todd Marchant all scored at least twenty. As it turned out, Carter didn't even end the season with the Oilers: he was traded to the Rangers at the deadline for Radek Dvorak who scored one of the prettiest goals in Oilers' history in the 2003 playoffs.
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