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Oilers v. Sharks - Psalm 3:1-8

Yahweh, there are many who stand against us,
there are many who circle around us, like Sharks,
ready for the kill.
All of our enemies are saying,
"God has abandoned them!"
and they destroy us.

But you are actually a shield around us!
We are waiting patiently for our crowning glory,
our saviours who are to come this June.
It is to Yahweh that we cry aloud for failure,
and he will answer our prayers again;
he hears as well in California as he does in Alberta.

We turn our televisions off,
and look to the scoresheets;
our prayers are answered again!
We will not pay heed to those who cheer for different laundry,
who mock us for our inferior club,
for we know that it must be this way for our unrighteous leaders to be punished.

Arise Yahweh!
Deliver us, O God!
Strike down our foolish leaders!
Pitch them into a lake of fire!
From Yahweh comes deliverance!
May your blessing be on your people.

Edmonton Oilers (16-25-5) @ San Jose Sharks (30-10-8)

HP Pavilion, 2:00 P.M. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The San Jose Sharks are interesting team. They don't really outshoot opponents at EV. With the score close they've outshot opponents 750-714. In terms of Corsi the total is 1356-1335 in favour of the Sharks. Their overall Corsi is split right down the middle. This is not a team that is relying on outshooting at EV. Now, I'd be thrilled if these numbers belonged to the Oilers but I expected better from the team leading the Western Conference. The PDO is high, but not ridiculously so at 101.3 with the score close and 101.1 overall, so "luck" and/or "finishing" doesn't really explain their entire +33 goal differential (shoot-out goals excluded). At least a part of the Sharks empire has been built on special teams where they have outscored opponents 44-30. Both their PK and PP are in the top ten in the league and their superiority in those areas is pushing them from a good team to a very good team. Probably the most encouraging thing for the Sharks is that the formula they're using for success has worked against the best teams in the league. Their record against clubs with a goal differential of +15 or better is 6-2-1.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (16-25-5):

Pisani and Brule are definitely out with flu, Horcoff and Stone are questionable... If both Horcoff and Stone play I'm guessing we'll see something like:

Penner - Horcoff - Nilsson
Stone - Gagner - Potulny
Moreau - Cogliano - O'Sullivan

Jacques - Stortini - Strudwick

Gilbert - Souray

Smid - Visnovsky
Grebeshkov - Staios

Dubnyk (Again!)

San Jose Sharks (30-10-8)

Heatley - Thornton - Marleau
Clowe - Pavelski - Setoguchi
Nichol - Malhotra - Ortmeyer
Shelley - Mitchell - McCarthy

Vlasic - Blake
Boyle - Murray
Huskins - Leach


Behind the Numbers:

  • The "Ryan Smyth Deathmarch" Oilers: 2-16-1. The current "AHL Goaltending" Oilers: 1-12-1. I believe.
  • When they have the lead after two periods, the Sharks have yet to lose in regulation. Their current record is 22-0-4. Those 26 games led after two periods is the most in the league. The Oilers record when leading after two periods is 9-2-1, which means they've had the lead after two periods only twelve times this season, which is tied for 29th in the league with the Minnesota Wild. The only team that's worse? The Atlanta Thrashers who have only had the lead after two periods eleven times all season. That doesn't bode well for them making the playoffs.
  • The Heatley-Thornton-Marleau line is deployed about an equal amount in the offensive zone and in the defensive zone. Among the forwards, the Sharks generally protect the fourth line by giving them more faceoffs in the offensive zone and use Malhotra's line to compensate in the defensive zone.
  • The tandem of JDDDD has a combined save percentage of .893 so far. The biggest thing the Oilers can do to preserve their top pick is not get better goaltending at the NHL level (they should probably still get someone for the Falcons).