"All of your fans will turn on you; those who once purchased your jerseys will cry out and complain; those who have been eating from the hand of Sutter will turn around and betray him sneakily but he will not perceive it. In that day," declares Yahweh, "I will laugh at the downfall of Calgary's upper management, the men who once sat high and mighty in the pressbox will be brought low."
"Your so-called warriors, O Calgary, are playing scared. Game after game they have been chopped down like saplings by their opponents. You ask yourself, 'Why is this happening?' It is because of your violence against your neighbour, Edmonton. For this reason, you will be covered in shame. For this reason, you will be destroyed forever. Every day that goes by in this putrid season you point and laugh as other teams carry off points. Foreign cities march into Alberta and lay a beating on Edmonton and you do nothing but mock openly. You should not look down on your neighbour in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the Edmonton Oilers in the year of their destruction, nor point and laugh in their day of trouble. You should not march into Edmonton, through the gates of my chosen people, and take advantage of them like everybody else, looking down on them, pitying them in the day of their calamity, taking points in the standings and physical liberties with their stars. You should not lick your lips when you see Edmonton on the schedule acting like those playing in Copper and Blue are worthy of no respect."
"The great day of Yahweh comes. Just as you have mocked, so also you will be mocked. Your deeds will leave you in ninth place while the Oilers select in the top five. Suddenly, your mockery will have come crashing down upon you."
Calgary Flames (20-12-5) @ Edmonton Oilers (15-19-4)
Rexall Place, 7:00 PM MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Calgary Flames have not been a very good team in the month of December. Their record in regulation so far this month is 3-6-2 and their goal differential (no shootout goals included) and their goal differential over that time has been -7. However, their team Corsi has actually been positive (+36), including a slightly positive differential when it comes to shots on goal (+4). But these generally positive numbers turn negative if we narrow the view to look only at times when the game is tied. Over the 11 games in December their Corsi rate when the game is tied is down to -20 and their shots on goal -18. That's not a big number over 11 games but it does point to a team that probably shouldn't be winning more than they lose. The Flames were having some big difficulties when it came to outshooting at the beginning of the year and although they have improved their overall shot differential of -3.5 per game on the season still leaves a lot of room for improvement. I think there is a very real possibility that the Flames miss the playoffs.
Edmonton Oilers (15-19-4):
Penner - Gagner - Nilsson
Moreau - Horcoff - O'Sullivan
Stone - Cogliano - Stortini
Jacques - Potulny - Brule
Visnovsky - Smid
Souray - Gilbert
Staios - Grebeshkov
Calgary Flames (20-12-5):
Jokinen - Conroy - Iginla
Dawes - Langkow - Bourque
Glencross - Moss - Nystrom
Prust - Boyd - McGrattan
Bouwmeester - Giordano
Phaneuf - Regehr
Behind The Numbers:
- I've been pretty "doom and gloom" for the Flames so far but one guy having a tremendous season is Miikka Kiprusoff. His .933 EV save percentage is very good. His placing of fifth in the league in overall save percentage is particularly impressive when one considers the fact that he's faced a higher ratio of shots on the PK than any other goalie who has played at least 30 games except for Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flames have really needed him to be good to stay in playoff position and he's delivered.
- The Calgary Flames lead the league in major penalties with 38. All 38 penalties were fighting majors which leaves them with 0 non-fighting major infractions on the season which is, obviously, also tied for the league lead (with the Oilers!).
- Jay Bouwmeester leads the NHL in TOI per game with 26:51 per game. Both Dion Phaneuf (24:06) and Robyn Regehr (22:50) also play more minutes per game than the Oilers TOI leader Sheldon Souray (22:12). I'm not sure what impact rolling the defensive pairs has had on the Oilers' results this year but I'd guess it's been both minimal and negative.
- Vic Ferrari has updated his timeonice site and gives a little tutorial on how to use some of the applications over at IOF. I can't thank him enough for providing all of us with this great raw data. Thanks Vic, you're awesome. I used some of this data in this very post.