Oilers v. Senators - Jeremiah 11:9-14

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Then Yahweh said to me, "There is foolishness among the people living in Ontario, those who dwell in Ottawa.  Despite my stern warning they have continued to walk in their sins.  Even after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs just as I did to them in times gone by - a clear sign - they continued to follow Murray the usurper.  They have broken the covenant I made with you, the great Muckler, who was promised a Stanley Cup.  Therefore this is what Yahweh has to say to them: 'I will bring inescapable disaster upon you.  You will beg for mercy, but I will not provide it.  You will look to Murray, your "savior" and cry out, but he cannot stand up to the crushing defeat that will be handed out by Almighty God.  Look, you foolish people of Ottawa.  You have trusted in Murray and each year things have gotten worse down to this very day, and if you do not turn from your sins before June, the boy you select will be under a curse and will make Alex Daigle look like a superstar.'"

 

Ottawa Senators (17-30-8) @ Edmonton Oilers (16-30-8)

Rexall Place, 12:00 p.m. MST
Television: CBC

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report: 

It's a sad thing, but this the most significant head-to-head match-up that the Oilers have left on the schedule (unless they hold the Flames' playoff fate in their hands on April 6th).  The Senators, of course, are awful and have gotten worse with the trade of Mike Fisher to the Predators.  They've lost eleven games in a row and seventeen of their last eighteen to fall all the way from 9th place and four points out of the playoffs on December 26th to... well... where they are now.  To put how far they've fallen into perspective, the Oilers have gained ground on them over that stretch.  To put how bad the Oilers are into perspective, they've gained just four points.

 

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (16-30-8):

Penner - Reddox - Hemsky
Hall - Cogliano - Eberle
Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark
Jacques - Fraser - Jones

Peckham - Gilbert

Smid - Petry
Vandermeer - Foster


Khabibulin

Ottawa Senators (17-30-8)

Michalek - Spezza - Butler
Foligno - Regin - Kovalev
Smith - Kelly - Neil
Ruutu - O'Brien - Shannon

Phillips - Karlsson
Gonchar - Campoli
Kuba - Lee

Elliott

 

By the Numbers:

  • Both starting goaltenders in tonight's game have lost thirteen consecutive games, but the only one who can make history is Nikolai Khabibulin, since Brian Elliott's streak includes a few overtime games.  If the Khabibulin's Oilers lose in regulation tonight, the Maginot Line will have the longest regulation losing streak since the lockout, which is relevant since the incentives about getting to overtime changed after the mandatory three-point game was created.  That said, there are longer losing streaks.  Just not many.  If Khabibulin makes fourteen, I think it will be the longest since Don Beaupre put up twenty-three consecutive regulation losses with the Senators and Maple Leafs during the 1995-96 season (that streak was "broken" with an overtime loss).
  • The Northeast division is truly awful.  Looking at the "Clear Victory" standings in the right-hand sidebar, you'll notice that every division is .500 or better with the exception of the Northeast - that division is thirteen games under .500.  The division also has a combined goal differential of -45, by far the worst mark in the NHL.
  • The Senators have had a lot of trouble scoring so far this season, but a lot of that comes down to the percentages.  The Senators only have four players with a shooting percentage north of 10% (min. 25 shots) so far this season, compared to ten for the Oilers.
  • The Senators have also had trouble generating power plays.  So far this season, the Senators have been on the power play just 170 times, which is 29th in the league.  They've also been shorthanded 27 more times than they've been on the power play, which is tied for the worst differential in the league.  The Oilers, for what it's worth, sit 18th with five more times shorthanded than power play opportunities.
  • Tom Gilbert took six minor penalties through nine games in the month of October, which was a pretty substantial departure from the disciplined game he's played throughout his career.  Sure enough, in the 45 games since that time, Gilbert has only taken another six minor penalties, including a grand total of zero in his last 15 games.  If we look at penalties taken per unit of ice time on the season (min. 20 games and 10 EV minutes per game), Gilbert is solidly in the top ten in the NHL.  Playing defense without taking penalties is a valuable skill, and one that's too often forgotten in the analysis of Gilbert's game.
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