Hear the voice of Yahweh:
"The day is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Edmonton, and all those who cheer on the Oilers. This covenant will not be like the one that I made with the previous generation when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the WHA to win Cup after Cup if only they would follow me. Though I loved them and kept my promises, after a few short years they broke the covenant we had made for their leaders cared more for money than for my glory."
"But today I will make a new covenant. My love for them will be written on their hearts. I will mix glory with suffering judiciously so that they will not become arrogant and forget me. Yes, I will be their God and they will be my people forever."
Edmonton Oilers (29-36-8)
Tampa Bay Times Forum, 5:30 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet Oilers
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
As quickly and inexplicably as they rose, so also the Tampa Bay Lightning have fallen. By Clear Victories, they are one of the very worst teams in the NHL, ahead of only the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets. Their Fenwick percentage with the score tied during five-on-five play is down to 48.1%, which is somewhere between last season's excellent squad (52.9%), and 2009-10's terrible one (46.5%). And what's making it happen? It's hard to say. The top players have been mostly the same in all three seasons: Stamkos, St. Louis, Lecavalier, Malone, Hedman, and Ohlund. Granted, these guys won't give you the exact same performance every year, but it's interesting to see a team's results change so much with its top guys staying mostly the same.
Edmonton Oilers (29-36-8):
Jones - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Hartikainen - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Horcoff - Petrell
Hordichuk - Belanger - Eager
Smid - Petry
Whitney - Schultz
Peckham - Potter
Tampa Bay Lightning (32-33-7):
St. Louis - Stamkos - Purcell
Malone - Pyatt - Connolly
Wyman - Smith - Wallace
Labrie - Segal - Tyrell
Brewer - Hedman
Clark - Lee
Aulie - Mikkelson
By the Numbers:
- Unbelievably, Ales Hemsky's hat trick against the Predators was the first of his career, and only the ninth time that he scored at least two goals in a single game. It was however, the 21st time that he scored at least three points.
- Teemu Hartikainen had the first two-point game of his career last night, and for the second consecutive game, he had his best game of the season. Tom Renney rewarded him with 17:43 of ice time, and will likely continue to give him opportunities to impress over these next few games.
- There were quite a few people gambling on Ryan Jones taking a big fall this season, both because of his strong percentages a year ago, and because of the new forwards joining the team. It hasn't happened. Jones beat out Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark for a job among the team's top nine wingers, and in the Oilers' last game, he scored his 15th goal of the season. Jones also has 28 points this year, already a career high with another nine games to go.
- With 435 career regular season points, Shawn Horcoff is just one point behind Esa Tikkanen for 8th on the Oilers' all-time list. With 217, Sam Gagner is just one point behind Steve Smith for 21st.
- I understand that the guy is getting older, but it's safe to say that it was reasonable to expect more of Eric Belanger offensively than what he's delivered. This is his eleventh season in the NHL, and the 34-year-old is on pace to set career lows for both goals (he has 3; the previous low was 8) and points (he has 15; the previous low was 21).