Oilers v. Avalanche - 2 Chronicles 6:10-11

Dale MacMillan

Then Daryl said, "God has fulfilled the promise he made to me, for I am now a king in this place, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, just as God promised I would one day be. I will build a new Temple to honor the God who has given it to me. There I will place a great team, no longer floundering in the basement, but rather, playing exciting hockey during the playoffs and winning Stanley Cups."

Edmonton Oilers @ Colorado Avalanche

Pepsi Center, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: We're getting close to the halfway point in the season and the hot start of the Colorado Avalanche is turning into a good season. Their team save percentage, which was the best in the league for much of the year, has fallen to fourth (with a still strong .925) with some spotty goaltending over their last eight games, but the Avalanche haven't totally fallen off the map with a 3-4-1 record over that span. That segement includes an 8-2 loss on the road to the Oilers, Colorado's most lopsided of the season, and no doubt one they'd like to avenge tonight playing at home.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (11-22-3):

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Perron - Gagner - Yakupov
Smyth - Gordon - Hemsky
Gazdic - Lander - Jones

Ference - Petry
N Schultz - J Schultz
Belov - Larsen

Bryzgalov

Colorado Avalanche (22-10-1):

Landeskog - Stastny - Parenteau
O'Reilly - Duchene - MacKinnon
McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
Bordeleau - Cliche - McLeod

Guenin - Johnson
Benoit - Sarich
Barrie - Hejda

Varlamov

By The Numbers:

  • One of the things that gets raised pretty consistently as a concern among fans is size up the middle. So when I decided to look at how the various teams in the Western Conference compare, I wasn't surprised to see the Oilers near the bottom of the list when comparing the average size of each club's top three centers:

Size_up_the_middle

  • The Avalanche are in a tricky spot with Paul Stastny, who's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. On the one hand, he's probably not very good value for money at $6.6M and the Avalanche have a couple of talented natural centers currently playing on the wing (O'Reilly, MacKinnon) ready to step in. On the other hand, he's an outstanding player who's eating 18:30 per night and a proven scorer in the NHL. I'm sure the Avalanche aren't too keen on the idea of losing him for nothing, but they can't like the idea of trading such a key component for futures either. Tricky spot.
  • Ryan Smyth has been a healthy scratch several times this year, but when he plays, he plays. Smyth has never played less than 11:25 in any game he's dressed this season, a total that compares very favorably to others who have been in and out of the lineup. In fact, Will Acton, Jesse Joensuu, Luke Gazdic, and Ryan Jones are all averaging less than Smyth's low. It makes you wonder why Dallas Eakins ever takes Smyth out at all.
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