Oilers v. Avalanche - Psalm 30:8-12

We cried out to you, O Yahweh,
we begged you for mercy saying,
"What is there to gain from our misery?
Are you trying to make us bitter?
If we refuse, will fans of any other team praise you?
Will they rise up to tell of your faithfulness?
Hear us, O Yahweh, and have mercy;
listen to our desperate pleas.

Turn our sarcasm into sincere thanks,

our gallows humor into real joy;
give us reason to sing your praises,
and we will never be silent!
O Yahweh, great God of Edmonton,
free us from incompetence and we will give you thanks forever!"

Colorado Avalanche (28-26-4) @ Edmonton Oilers (22-28-6)

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

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Oilers last played the Avalanche on January 31st. Before that game, the Avalanche were 9th in the Western Conference, just one point back of Minnesota in 8th. But they lost to the Oilers, and then went 2-2-2 in their six next games. A couple of other teams banked a bunch of points over that same stretch (Phoenix and Calgary in particular), and now the Avalanche are down to 11th in the Conference, five points back of Los Angeles and Phoenix who are tied for 7th and 8th. Also working against them is the split of home and road games. Of the eight teams vying for three spots, the Avalanche rank near the bottom of the list:

Home_v_road_medium

That certainly makes Calgary's bid for a playoff spot look pretty good (they're currently 9th), especially because the Flames have been so good at home (16-8-2), which only makes things tougher on the Avalanche.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (22-28-6):

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

Whitney - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Barker - Sutton

Dubnyk

Colorado Avalanche (28-26-4):

Jones - Stastny - Hejduk
Landeskog - O'Reilly - Olver
Winnik - McClement - Porter
McLeod - Van der Gulik - Kobasew

Hejda - O'Byrne
Quincey - Johnson
O'Brien - Wilson

Varlamov

By the Numbers:

  • The Edmonton Oilers have four of the worst forty Corsi performers in the league among players with at least ten games played: Lennart Petrell (-25.7/60; 3rd worst), Cam Barker (-18.4/60; 21st), Ryan Whitney (-16.1/60; 32nd), and Anton Lander (-15.5/60; 36th). Lander and Barker are in a group of six in that bottom forty who make the list despite starting more often in the offensive zone. The others are Devante Smith-Pelly, George Parros, Eric Boulton, and Rod Pelley. So basically, a couple of overwhelmed rookies, a couple of one-dimensional goons, plus Barker and Pelley.
  • The worst Avalanche player on the list is Ryan O`Byrne (-8.5; 142nd), but he has taken 65.1% of his end-zone faceoffs in the defensive zone while playing mostly on one of the top two defensive pairings, so that number is actually pretty good.
  • 175 players have taken at least 100 shots so far this season in the NHL. Jordan Eberle is one of them with 122. He also has the highest shooting percentage at 20.5%. Since 2005-06, just 11 players have finished a season with at least 100 shots and a shooting percentage better than Eberle's. Five of those seasons came in 2005-06 when there were more power play shots than usual, but the post-lockout record belongs to Mike Ribeiro who shot 25.2% on 107 shots in 2007-08. The all-time record belongs to Charlie Simmer who shot 32.7% on 171 shots in 1980-81.
  • Six and a half of the best thirteen shooting percentage seasons happened with the Oilers. Jari Kurri has three, Craig Simpson one and a half (he spent the last part of one of those seasons with Pittsburgh), Wayne Gretzky one, and Esa Tikkanen one.
  • The Avalanche have a shot differential of +1.9 per game, good enough to tie for 8th in the league. They're also the only team in the top ten not currently in playoff position. The Oilers are currently 29th with a shot differential of -4.6 per game, which is just slightly better than the Minnesota Wild's -4.7.
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