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Oilers v. Blue Jackets - Psalm 118:13-20

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The Oilers are pushed back, about to fall far down the standings,
but surely Yahweh will help them.
Yahweh is their strength through injury and illness,
their equalizer when they play a superior club.
Let shouts of joy and victory
resound in the visitor's dressing room:
"Yahweh's Right Wing has done mighty things!
Yahweh's Left Wing does wonders!
Yahweh's Right Wing had done mighty things!"
Our fandom will not die! It will live!
And we will proclaim Yahweh's righteousness!
Though Yahweh continues to punish us severely
he will not kill us.
May the gates of victory open in Columbus,
that we might sing a mighty song of righteous victory to Yahweh's glory.
The gates of victory are Yahweh's possession;
may he grant us passage today and forever!

Edmonton Oilers (8-10-2) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (10-6-2)

Nationwide Arena, 5:00 P.M. MDT
Television:Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Columbus Blue Jackets have about 6-7 million dollars less to spend than the Edmonton Oilers and yet somehow they manage to ice a better team. I remember many years ago my friends and I would console ourselves about the "spendy" teams by pointing and laughing at the New York Rangers lack of success. I'm pretty sure that since Chris Pronger left town the Edmonton Oilers are the team that fans of other clubs like Columbus point and laugh at.

At any rate, the Blue Jackets are a quality club, especially up front. Although Steve Mason has struggled quite a bit so far this season, the Blue Jackets defenders are starting to get healthier (Jan Hejda will play tonight, he was unavilable in the Penner-Gagner-Hemsky extravaganza in Edmonton) which should reduce the number of opportunities Mason has to show off his sparkling .879 save percentage. More and more I'm hoping that Tyler put some money on Mason making a trip to the AHL. Still, any NHL level goalie who's playing poorly over long stretches can play well on any given night: Mason has five games where he's allowed two or fewer goals and only (ha!) six games where he's allowed four or more. Look for the Jackets to try to play this game in tight-checking fashion.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (8-10-1):

Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky
Comrie - O'Sullivan - Nilsson
Reddox - Brule - Potulny

Moreau - Cogliano - Stortini

Smid - Visnovsky

Staios - Gilbert
Strudwick - The Man With No Heart


Deslauriers

Columbus Blue Jackets (10-6-2)

Huselius - Vermette - Nash
Brassard - Umberger - Voracek
Chimera - Blunden - Boll
Dorsett - MacKenzie - Filatov

Hejda - Klesla
Stralman - Tyutin
Russell -Methot

Mason

Behind the Numbers:

  • Rick Nash is tied for third in league scoring with 24 points. The next closest Blue Jacket is Antoine Vermetter with 14. Dustin Penner leads the Oilers in points with 23. His closest teammate is Ales Hemsky with 18.
  • With Sammy Pahlsson out of the lineup in the Blue Jackets last game against the Ducks, Antoine Vermette took more faceoffs (28) than the rest of the team combined (26).
  • I'm sure everyone knows this already but after watching the Oilers get murdered by the Stars all those years it needs to be said one more time... Ken Hitchcock marked his 1,000th career game with a 9-1 loss to the Red Wings.
  • Denis Grebeshkov still leads the Oilers in minor penalties (8) but Ethan Moreau is aggressively moving up the charts and is now tied for second with Zack Stortini (7). Robert Nilsson still hasn't taken a minor penalty yet this year.
  • Dustin Penner is having the best year of his NHL career in terms of shooting percentage (19.7%, previous best 14.2%), shots per game (3.05, previous best 2.49) and time on ice per game (19:43, previous best 17:12).