You will be able to defeat all kinds of teams because of my favor, but there are certain teams that I will not be able to help you in defeating: the Sharks; the Lightning; the Ducks or Panthers; the Predators; the Wild or Blue Jackets; Canadian teams of all sorts, whether they reside there now or once played there but have since moved; any Original six teams or teams with eight-letter nicknames; teams in New York State or New Jersey; the Blues; Texas teams of all kinds; any team named after a mythical beast; any team that did or does play in Connecticut; the Capitals or Kings or any team whose nickname includes a voiceless velar plosive sound; the Bruins; any club from Pennsylvania or Illinois; and, of course, any team that has previously won their league championship. But every other team you will defeat with ease.
Edmonton Oilers (25-33-6)
Honda Center, 8:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
After a stirring charge up the standings, the Ducks have cooled off substantially since the All-Star game, posting a 7-5-6 record in regulation over that time. Of course, their "official" record of 10-5-3 over that same span looks a lot more impressive. Still, the team will need to be a lot better than that over their last sixteen games in order to make the playoffs. It seems likely that the absolute minimum to qualify in the west will be the 92 points. To get there, the Ducks will need a record of 13-3-0. It's not impossible - the Phoenix Coyotes just finished a stretch where they went 12-2-2 - but it is exceedingly unlikely, and there's no guarantee that they make it in even if they do hit that mark. In other words, this is a game between two teams whose seasons are pretty much done... which is a lot like their last meeting in January.
Edmonton Oilers (25-33-6):
Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Petrell - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Smyth - Horcoff - Eager
Hordichuk - Belanger - Jones
Smid - Petry
Whitney - Schultz
Sutton - Potter
Anaheim Ducks (28-28-10):
Hagman - Getzlaf - Perry
Ryan - Koivu - Selanne
Cogliano - Bonino - Smith-Pelly
Beleskey - Blake - Parros
Beauchemin - Fowler
Sbisa - Visnovsky
Lydman - Brookbank
By the Numbers:
- Andrew Cogliano will be playing in his 395th consecutive game tonight against the Oilers, which is a remarkable feat. With this Anaheim team, it's pretty clear that Cogliano generally deserves his spot in the lineup, but as the club adds forward depth, I wonder if that streak will give him the benefit of the doubt a time or two from a coach who might otherwise make him a healthy scratch.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets are making a three-peat seem very unlikely for the Oilers, but the two teams have been equals for most of the season. Since the start of November the Blue Jackets have earned 42 points (18-29-6), compared to just 40 for the Oilers (18-31-4). With a nine-point gap, the Oilers will need a solid run by the Blue Jackets over the season's last seventeen games, but if they just keep doing what they've been doing, there's still a chance.
- I spoke out of turn a few games ago when I said that Linus Omark had been called up. Well, now he really has! Like the rest of the Barons, Omark didn't have a particularly good weekend, but his overall numbers in the AHL this season are still quite strong. Omark has scored 16 points in 18 games to go along with a +4 rating. The biggest concern is probably Omark's shot rate, which has dipped below two shots per game (1.94).
- Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall both have over twenty goals already this year, and Ryan Smyth, Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all have at least fifteen. If they all make it, it will be the first time the Oilers have had five players score twenty since the 2002-03 season when Smyth, Anson Carter, Mike York, Mike Comrie, and Todd Marchant all pulled it off. If Ryan Jones joins the group (he has 14 on the year right now), it'll be the first time the Oilers have had six players score twenty since the 1991-92 season when eight Oilers made the list: Vincent Damphousse, Joe Murphy, Craig Simpson, Scott Mellanby, Petr Klima, Kelly Buchberger, Bernie Nicholls, and Anatoli Semenov. What a weird team that was. The Oilers had already done a lot of selling, but this club was good enough to make the Conference Finals, and five of those eight players were twenty-five or younger when the 1991-92 season ended.
- Teemu Selanne needs just one point to pass Jari Kurri as the highest-scoring Finnish player of all-time, and to take over 19th spot on the all-time list. Seems awfully appropriate for him to get that record against the Oilers.