Are any of you suffering right now? You should pray. Are you overjoyed because of one good season in forty years? Then you should sing songs of praise! Are you sick of watching this crap? You should call some friends over so that they can pray with you and talk to you about a heavenly future when winning will be the norm. These prayers offered in faith will comfort you because God honors all those who call upon his name with righteous requests. And if you have committed any sins - like, say, practicing xenophobia by cheering for other teams just because they happen to play in a Canadian city - the prayer of faith will bring forgiveness.
Vancouver Canucks (52-18-9) @ Edmonton Oilers (24-43-11)
Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
As much fun as I had watching the last game against the Canucks (and it really was fun!), the fact that the game was completely meaningless was always in the back of my mind. The Canucks have already clinched the Presidents' Trophy, and the Oilers are just one (regulation) loss away from clinching 30th overall. Both teams are basically playing for history at this point, in the Oilers' case to avoid some franchise records, and in the Canucks' case to pursue them, and even though that's a little something to get behind, it's not quite the same as a real live push for the playoffs, something Oiler fans haven't seen since the days of Craig MacTavish.
Edmonton Oilers (24-43-11):
Eberle - VandeVelde - Hartikainen
Paajarvi - Cogliano - Omark
Jacques - Brule - Reddox
Strudwick - O'Marra - MacIntyre
Smid - Gilbert
Vandermeer - Petry
Peckham - Foster
Vancouver Canucks (52-18-9)
Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Higgins - Kesler - Samuelsson
Torres - Raymond - Hansen
Glass - Lapierre - Tambellini
Ehrhoff - Salo
Rome - Bieksa
Ballard - Sauve
By the Numbers:
- Right now the Canucks are second in the NHL with 3.16 goals per game and first in the NHL with 2.23 goals against per game. According to Tom Benjamin, the last team to lead the league in both goals for and goals against was the 1978-79 Montreal Canadiens. Last Saturday, the Oilers did their part in helping to make sure that doesn't happen. Let's hope the trend continues.
- The Edmonton Oilers, by contrast, have finished in the bottom five in at least one of goals for or goals against in four of the last five seasons: in 2006-07 they were 30th in goals for; in 2007-08 they were 26th in goals against; in 2008-09 they were pretty decent for a non-playoff team; in 2009-10 they were 27th in goals for and 30th in goals against; and in 2010-11 they stand 27th in goals for and 29th in goals against with virtually no chance of getting to 30/30. Oh well, something to shoot for next year.
- With fours shots in his last game, Liam Reddox now has 80 on the season, just four shy of Craig Adams' record for most shots by a forward without a goal in a single season. History will be made!
- And speaking of history, Ladislav Smid is set to join an exclusive club. Only 41 players in NHL history have three complete NHL seasons (minimum 40 games played) with zero goals. If Smid doesn't score for the rest of this season, he'll become the 42nd, and at only 25 years old, he's got a pretty good shot at Jimmy Thompson's record of six seasons, which was established after Thompson scored no goals in the 1956-57 season.
- The Vancouver Canucks will likely end the season with nine forwards having scored at least 20 points. The Edmonton Oilers, by contrast, are all but certain to have ten. Clearly, then, the Oilers are the team with superior offensive depth.