This is what I have noticed about what transpires on the ice:
The game is not always given to the fast
and victory does not always present itself to the strong.
Wise management is not always rewarded
and strong underlying numbers do not guarantee a win.
Time and chance happen to them all.
No team knows when its hour has come.
Just as a fish gets caught in a cruel net,
Or a tree is felled after years of standing by an Avalanche,
so some fans grow accustomed to luck
and think it skill. When the luck turns
they are devastated by the mounting losses.
Colorado Avalanche (13-5-3) @ Edmonton Oilers (8-10-3)
Rexall Place, 7:00 P.M. MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Colorado Avalanche are coming off a win last night in Calgary, a bit of a bounce back game for them after the 8-2 drubbing that Vancouver gave them on Saturday night. The Avalanche have started to cool off from their hot start going 5-4-1 over their last ten games. I expect that their record will continue to get a bit worsen over the course of the season, though they may never completely bottom out on a long losing streak. Although it's unreasonable to expect them to stay near the top of the Conference (thought the first 250 NHL games of the season the Avalanche were the worst team in the league in terms of outshooting when the game is tied) they should stay around the playoff bubble. It will be interesting to see how the Avalanche management reacts at the trade deadline. Before the season they were probably going to be moving out guys with expiring contracts but if they're in the playoff picture that plan may change.
The most impressive Avalanche forward continues to be Wojtek Wolski and the most impressive player is Craig Anderson (who was again the biggest reason for an Avalanche win last night yet again). With this being the Avs second game in two nights, Anderson will likely need to shine again if the Avs are going to win. Milan Hejduk is back in the lineup after being out the last time these two teams met. Joe Sacco has recently started playing Hejduk with Matt Duchene in an effort to get Duchene out of a bit of a slump (he hasn't been scoring well, but he's also been badly outchanced over the last several games). If you remember Sam Gagner's first season it's really quite similar stuff.
Edmonton Oilers (8-10-3):
Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky
Comrie - Gagner - O'Sullivan
Reddox - Brule - Potulny
Moreau - Cogliano - Stortini
Smid - Visnovsky
Souray - Gilbert
Strudwick - Staios
Colorado Avalanche (13-5-3)
Wolski - Stastny - Jones
Tucker - Duchene - Hejduk
McLeod - O'Reilly - Stewart
Svatos - Hensick - Koci
Hannan - Quincey
Cumiskey - Foote
Behind the Numbers:
- Ryan O'Reilly leads all rookies in even strength points with 15 and in +/- at +12. He leads the Avalanche in pts/15 with 0.908/15 and in faceoff percentage with 49.0%. He's also playing three minutes per game on the penalty kill. Admittedly, I haven't seen a lot of games many of the other rookies in the NHL have played but right now I would pick O'Reilly for rookie of the year.
- With Ryan O'Reilly leading the Avalanche at 49.0% on faceoffs, the only player in the game who has won more draws than he's lost (minimum 50 draws) is not Shawn Horcoff. It's Gilbert Brule.
- So far this season Oiler goalies have a save percentage of .971 when Steve Staios is on the ice. When Jason Strudwick Oiler goalies have a save percentage of .899.
- Ethan Moreau is now only 7 PIMs behind Marty McSorley for 13th on the Oilers all-time list. He needs one minor penalty to take the lead in minor penalties on the season (he's currently tied with linemate Zack Stortini and defender Denis Grebeshkov).
- Ales Hemsky needs only 2 more goals to reach 100 for his career. The Oilers have only had 16 players reach that mark in an Oiler uniform. 10 C+B points to anyone who can name more of them than Bruce off the top of their head.
- Ladislav Smid is currently sitting in a tie for 360th in +/- as an Oiler with -32 for his Oiler career. He'll need to be bad for a lot more seasons to catch former Oiler captain Kelly Buchberger who's in last place (371st) with -99.