Oilers v. Avalanche - Mark 7:14-19

Doug Pensinger

Then Eakins called his team together and again and said, "Listen very closely, all of you, and try your absolute best to understand: there is nothing that you can do offensively to get put in the pressbox; it's what you do defensively that will get you sent away."

After yet another loss, his players asked him about what he could have meant. Eakins responded saying, "Do you still fail to understand? Do you not see that this is a game of mistakes, and that our reliance on intuitive skill to get out of every situation is causing so many of them? It's not skill itself that causes a player to be sent away, but rather a lack of listening and playing the team's system.

Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: A few years ago, the Colorado Avalanche had an incredible start to their season thanks to wonderful goaltending from Craig Anderson and not much else. As you might expect, the Avalanche began to fall down the standings as the season continued, just barely scraping into the playoffs as the eighth seed before bowing out in the first round. The Avalanche are having another incredible start to their season, and goaltending is once again a major factor. The Avalanche have the best team save percentage in the NHL at .935 (a hilarious forty-eight points ahead of Edmonton's .887), but their underlying numbers are much better this year than they were in 2009-10. Their Fenwick percentage with the score tied is a very good 52.5%, which is good enough for ninth in the NHL. Of course, ninth in the NHL is only good enough to be 6th in the Western Conference, so they're likely to be underdogs once the playoffs come around, but their chance of pulling an upset this season is much better than it was in 2009-10.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (9-18-2):

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Jones - Gagner - Hemsky
Yakupov - Arcobello - Perron
Smyth - Lander - Joensuu

Belov - J Schultz
Ference - Petry
N Schultz -Potter

Dubnyk

Colorado Avalanche (19-6-0):

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

Hejda - Johnson
Barrie - Guenin
Benoit - Sarich

Varlamov

By The Numbers:

  • Anton Lander seems to have found his offense in the AHL while playing mostly with Oklahoma City's leading scorer, Linus Omark. In 18 AHL games, Lander has earned 15 points and has taken 2.5 shots per game. Those numbers compare very favorably to the 1.8 shots per game and 25 points in 61 regular season games over the last two AHL seasons. Lander clearly wasn't ready when he arrived in Edmonton two years ago, but he might be ready now.
  • The Avalanche have been one of the most surprising teams so far this season, which means they've received quality minutes from some unexpected sources. One of the biggest surprises has to be the play of Andre Benoit, a 29-year-old defenseman who had played just 46 NHL games prior to this season. Benoit currently leads Avalanche defensemen in scoring with 11 points, and is third in time on ice per game at 20:28.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have dressed thirty different skaters in at least one game so far this season. Seven of those skaters have a plus/minus of even or better: Anton Lander (even in 1 GP), Tyler Pitlick (even in 3 GP), Denis Grebeshkov (even in 7 GP), Ryan Jones (even in 16 GP), Ben Eager (+1 in 7 GP), Mike Brown (+1 in 8 GP), and Luke Gazdic (+1 in 22 GP). How does a list like that not make you chuckle?
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