Then The Nuge led his team onto the ice, but when the Hurricanes came out, many of the veterans suddenly became nervous. The Nuge, however, was very calm. The veterans came to him very agitated saying, "This team engages in witchcraft! The goalie might seem like nothing special, but he works wonders against us!"
The Nuge responded, "Why are you so afraid? You have so little faith!" By the end of the game, The Nuge had scored seven times, and there was much celebration. The vetrans were all amazed. "Who is this man?" they asked. "Even old enemies like the Hurricanes are no match for him!"
Edmonton Oilers (13-11-3)
Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
I had to check that Carolina record a couple of times before I believed it. The team started the year 4-3-3, but has gone 4-14-1 since, which is just terrible. The team isn't very good to begin with, but the big problem over that stretch had been goaltending: the club has had an EV save percentage of just .898 over those 19 games. And it's not like it's just a bad backup tanking them: Cam Ward's save percentage over that time is .890 compared to .922 for back-up Brian Boucher. With Kirk Muller watching his predecessor get punted for the team's slow start, he probably feels some pressure to right the ship a little. If it happens, the turn-around will likely come mostly from between the pipes.
Edmonton Oilers (13-11-3):
Gagner - Horcoff - Hemsky
Smyth - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Paajarvi - Belanger - Jones
Eager - Lander - Petrell
Smid - Gilbert
Whitney - Petry
Sutton - Peckham
Carolina Hurricanes (8-17-4):
Skinner - Staal - Ruutu
Ponikarovsky - Jokinen - LaRose
Tlusty - Sutter - Dwyer
Stewart - Joslin - Nodl
Gleason - Falk
Pitkanen - McBain
Allen - Kaberle
By the Numbers:
- Only five players drafted in 2008 have scored more career points than Jordan Eberle (71): Steven Stamkos (262), Drew Doughty (134), Josh Bailey (95), Erik Karlsson (94), and Tyler Myers (91), and it seems to me that Eberle would have to be the favorite for second place if we look at the list again in five years time. Hard to believe that player was available 22nd overall, but sometimes you've got to be lucky to be good.
- Among players with at least 50 shots so far this season (there are 189 players), no one has a better shooting percentage than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (21.8% on 55 shots). He's definitely been impressive so far this season, but he's also been given a little push from lady luck.
- Ryan Smyth is leading Oiler forwards in even strength time on ice at 14:57 per game, but he's always been a minute-muncher. It's a slightly higher average than last year with the Kings, but lower than his first year in Los Angeles and than both of his seasons in Colorado.
- With 20 points in 27 games, Shawn Horcoff is on pace for 61 points, which would be the second-highest total of his career. He's also on pace to play every game in the season for the first time in his career.
- Last season, the Oilers got 22 goals and 96 assists from their defensemen. This season, the team's defenders are on pace for 33 goals and 85 assists. It's no secret that this team will need to add a strong defender, but it sure would be nice if that guy comes with an offensive dimension to his game.