When the Oilers came from the WHA, they were baptized into the glory of Lord Stanley. As each player looked up he saw the Holy Spirit coming down upon him in the form of champagne, and they heard a voice from heaven saying, "You are my team and I love you; with you I am always pleased."
After five such celebrations the Holy Spirit carried the team into the wilderness where they would reside for forty years, tempting fans yearly to abandon the love they had for their team. But God's angels were with them, helping them to endure.
Edmonton Oilers (22-30-6) @ Calgary Flames (28-22-9)
Scotiabank Saddledome, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Home Team Scouting Report:
When the Oilers played the Avalanche I mentioned that Calgary is in a very good spot relative to some of the other playoff contenders in the Western Conference because of their schedule. The Flames have a massive number of home games left!
The only team close to them by that measure is Minnesota, and the Wild just aren't very good. Overall, the Flames aren't very good either. Their Fenwick percentage with the score close is 46.9%, which is actually worse than the Oilers (47.3%). But the Flames, like most teams, are much better at home than they are on the road. There, their Fenwick percentage with the score close is 53.1%, good enough for seventh in the NHL. With that in mind, it looks to me like the Flames (along with the Blackhawks) have a very good chance of making the playoffs, which leaves just one more spot for the other six clubs.
Edmonton Oilers (22-30-6):
Hall - Gagner - Eberle
Paajarvi - Horcoff - Hemsky
Smyth - Belanger - Eager
Petrell - Lander - Hordichuk
Whitney - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Sutton - Potter
Calgary Flames (28-22-9):
Tanguay - Jokinen - Iginla
Kostopoulos - Cammalleri - Comeau
Byron - Horak - Kolanos
Bouma - Stajan - Jackman
Bouwmeester - Butler
Giordano - Hannan
Brodie - Sarich
By the Numbers:
- When I saw that Krys Kolanos was in the Calgary lineup, the first thing I did was confuse him for Chris Kontos, which reminded me of Fernando Pisani and the spring of 2006. But we're not in 2006, and Fernando Pisani played a few games in Sweden before calling it a season, and with just 41 points in 144 NHL games at the age of 30, Krys Kolanos is no Chris Kontos.
- But on the good side of the ledger, Rem Murray is still going strong with HC Innsbruck of the Austrian National League, which is the second-highest pro league in Austria. Murray led the league in regular season goals with 31 in 32 games, and finished second in points with 68.
- Another notable former Oiler who spent time in the Austrian National League is Michael Henrich who finished fourth in league scoring in 2004-05. Henrich is now playing in Italy's top league with Asiago. Henrich's 34 points in 35 games is good enough for 22nd in league scoring, but is down from last season when he finished eighth in the league with 49 points in 40 games and helped Asiago to a Serie A championship.
- That 1998 draft was pretty disappointing for the Oilers, but there are still five Oiler picks playing pro hockey. Henrich is playing in Italy; Alex Henry is in his fourth season with the Hamilton Bulldogs (and is earning $200,000 to play there); Oleg Smirnov is having an unproductive season (two points in twenty games) with HK Ryazan of the Russian Major League (VHL); Maxim Spiridonov is a pretty good player in the KHL (14 points in 36 games this season, but he had 50 in 56 in 2009-10); and Shawn Horcoff is the much-maligned captain of the Edmonton Oilers, a team-worst -20 on the season and now at -43 for his Oiler career (regular seaosn), which clocks in at 10th worst in Oiler history.
- That last point makes Horcoff sound pretty bad, but he's one of three current Oilers in the bottom ten. Ladislav Smid is -44 for his career, and Sam Gagner is -45. As Tyler showed earlier today, the Oilers are just a bad team.