When God's team had finished celebrating their second consecutive win, the word of Yahweh came to the old coach. He cried out to the team he had brought all the way from Edmonton, "This is what Yahweh our Lord says: 'You have defied Yahweh's words and not kept the commands of Yahweh in your hearts with all of this celebration! Even with these two wins you are no better than 14th in the Conference! What are you celebrating?! Surely, you must be punished.'"
After the old coach had spoken they all got their bags ready to get on the plane to Miami. Once they arrived a group of Panthers met them in Sunrise and mauled them. Later in the evening the Panthers stood beside them at the airport as both teams waited to get on a plane for their next destination. Some other people in the airport saw the teams standing there, they recognized the old coach and asked him about the game. So the old coach said, "Oh, we were slaughtered because we, the team of Yahweh, did not show Yahweh the reverence we were supposed to have shown him. We celebrated our ascent to mediocrity and we were punished. This is why we were mauled and killed by a team so lowly as the Panthers."
Edmonton Oilers (12-13-4) @ Florida Panthers (11-13-5)
BankAtlantic Center, 5:30 P.M. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Florida Panthers are a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad hockey team. There really wasn't much to make a person think they were good to start the year and they haven't really done anything to change anybody's mind so far this season. Then Keith Ballard hit their best player (the goalie) in the head with his stick. Good. Grief. They are so bad.
Unbelievably, they're not too far out of playoff position (the 8th place team in the East is a not-so-hot 11-9-8... plus it's the Lightning) but their record is actually worse than the Oilers and, as bad as I think the Oilers are, the Panthers are likely a worse team too. The Panthers have very little depth and the result is lines that are actually pairs. The Panthers basically play with three pairs (Weiss-Horton; Kreps-Moore; Olesz-Dvorak), two guys that rotate around those pairs (Reinprecht, Campbell) and four players who don't play much at EV (Frolik and the Fourth liners). Or at least, that's what it looks like to me in very limited viewing. The shutdown pair of Leopold and Ballard have the most favourable ratio of o-zone to d-zone faceoffs and it's still a mountain to climb (Ballard has had 138 OZ draws and 171 DZ draws). They're obviously trying to hide Kulikov in terms of competition but in order to do so Deboer is constantly starting him in the bad end of the ice (73 OZ draws and 109 DZ draws). I submit that right now, there is no easy ice time for a Panther defender. The team is just so bad.
Edmonton Oilers (12-13-4):
Penner - Gagner - Brule
Jacques - O'Sullivan - Horcoff
Moreau - Potulny - Cogliano
Stone - Stortini (It Seems to be Working) - Nilsson
Smid - Visnovsky
Gilbert - Souray
Strudwick - Staios
Florida Panthers (11-13-5)
Frolik - Weiss - Horton
Olesz - Reinprecht - Dvorak
Moore - Kreps - Campbell
Duco - Taffe - Oreskovich
Ballard - Leopold
Allen - McCabe
Seidenberg - Kulikov
Behind the Numbers:
- Former Oiler Radek Dvorak will be playing his 1,000th NHL game tonight and will be honoured before the game. I will honour him by remembering the most amazing goal he ever scored as an Oiler and Derek's favourite Oiler fan experience (at least, I think it is).
- The Panthers do not have a single player with at least 15 games played that has started more in the offensive zone than the defensive zone. They don't even have anyone close. Olesz looks to be the closest with 101 OZ draws and 120 DZ draws.
- The Panthers are 29th in the NHL with a shot differential of -7.1 per game. The Oilers have rallied to 27th in the NHL with a shot differential of -4.8 per game. The Panthers are also 28th in the NHL in goal differential with a -20 (the two teams worse than them are both in the Eastern Conference). The Oilers are actually in the middle third of the league, 20th overall, with a -6.
- The Panthers have the 29th ranked penalty killing (76.0%) and 27th ranked power play (15.4%) in the NHL.
- The Florida Panthers are one (1) heaping pile of suck.