Oilers v. Lightning - Leviticus 13:9-11

USA TODAY Sports

When a team is losing habitually, it must first be brought to the league. The league will examine it by giving the team a first overall pick, perhaps even two or three top five picks in consecutive years. If the team doesn't stop losing, then the losing has become chronic and there's nothing more the league can do. The team will simply be regarded as unclean until the losing passes or the team dies and is reincarnated in another city. The league cannot relegate the team, but they can declare it unworthy of its place in the league.

Edmonton Oilers @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Times Forum, 5:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Lightning are off to a great start in the standings with ten wins through their first fourteen games. And having those points in the bank may come in very handy later in the year if the Lightning don't improve their play five-on-five. They currently sit 22nd in the league with a five-on-five Corsi percentage of just 48.6% (although that does improve to 50.5% if we just look for data with the score tied). The guys they need really need more from in that area are Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, both of whom are below the team's overall number despite receiving more offensive than defensive zone starts. Stamkos is one of the best finishers in the game, so dipping below 50% doesn't necessarily mean he'll get outscored, but for the Lightning to have success against good teams, they'll need their best players to be more dominant.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (4-10-2):

Hall - Gagner - Yakupov
Hemsky - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Omark - Gordon - Arcobello
Jones - Smyth - Gazdic

Ference - Petry
Smid - Larsen
N Schultz - Fedun

Dubnyk

Tampa Bay Lightning (10-4-0):

Killorn - Stamkos - St. Louis
Malone - Filppula - Purcell
Palat - Johnson - Connolly
Panik - Thompson - Crombeen

Salo - Hedman
Carle - Gudas
Barberio - Brewer

Bishop

By The Numbers:

  • One of the things I've liked about Dallas Eakins so far this season is his use of relatively extreme zone starts. Nail Yakupov, for example, has taken 70.8% of his end-zone faceoffs in the offensive zone while Boyd Gordon has taken 77.1% of his end-zone faceoffs in the defensive zone. It's a split that makes a lot of sense in both cases, and is a strategy that's likely to pay dividends for as long as Eakins remains the team's head coach.
  • Eakins made a great point yesterday about the early struggles of other high picks like Joe Thornton and Steven Stamkos. Stamkos started slowly in his rookie season, but was off to the races by the time he was Yakupov's age. Thornton, on the other hand, averaged just 0.50 points per game in his first three seasons in the NHL. Of course, that doesn't mean Yakupov is guaranteed to figure things out. Plenty of other high picks were, like Yakupov, at least somewhat promising early but then never reached their potential (Nikolai Zherdev, Patrik Stefan, and Alexandre Daigle are all decent examples).
  • Of course, a chance at a guy like Steven Stamkos isn't really something you pass up. Stamkos is an amazing player already, and may well end up being one of the best goalscorers ever. He's currently tied for ninth on the all-time list (200 GP minimum) with 0.57 goals per game. The guy he's tied with? Bobby Hull.
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