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Oilers v. Avalanche - Luke 18:15-17

Some people started bringing members of one of the youngest teams in the NHL to Jesus to have him touch them so that they could be blessed after a season of trials. When the Oilers - who were diligent followers of Jesus - saw this, they started to rebuke these people. But Jesus called the Avalanche to him and said, "Let these poor souls come to me, don't hinder them. This season, God will smile upon this pathetic team that really ought to be terrible. Then, maybe you will learn your lesson. For I am telling you the truth, anyone who believes they deserve God's favour will be humbled, and those who are humble - though on skill alone they merit losses - will enter the kingdom of playoff hockey."

Edmonton Oilers (16-26-5) @ Colorado Avalanche (27-15-6)

Pepsi Center, 7:00 P.M. MST
Television: PPV

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Avalanche continue to defy the naysayers and hang around the top of the Western Conference. Sort of... since my birthday (October 29th) - when the Avalanche were leading the Conference at 10-1-2 - the Avs have slowly come back to the pack, as the following chart illustrates:


They're losing ground to almost everybody. From November to today they've tied St. Louis for the fourth least points accumulated. Without those first thirteen games this team is barely above .500. Their consolation might be that the Kings haven't been much better, while the Ducks and Wild had such poor starts that they may not be able to catch up. They could still make the playoffs, but it will be awfully close and I wouldn't put any money on them taking the Northwest division.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (16-26-5):

Penner - Horcoff - Nilsson
Potulny - Gagner - Pisani (?)
Jacques - Pouliot (!) - O'Sullivan

Moreau - Cogliano - Stortini

Gilbert - Souray

Smid - Visnovsky
Grebeshkov - Strudwick


Colorado Avalanche (27-15-6)

Wolski - Stastny - Stewart
Galiardi - Duchene - Yip
McLeod - O'Reilly - Tucker
Koci - Hendricks - Svatos

Hannan - Quincey
Cumiskey - Wilson
Liles - Clark


Behind the Numbers:

  • The "Ryan Smyth Deathmarch" Oilers: 2-16-1. The current "AHL Goaltending" Oilers: 1-13-1. I believe!
  • Seriously though... the Oilers aren't this bad. Unfortunately, this kind of bad luck probably can't continue. Over the last fifteen games the Oilers have been outshot 368-365 at EV. But the percentages are just killing them. The .891 EV save percentage just won't continue. Even if Dubnyk and Deslauriers are bad, they're not that bad. Even if it does, the Oilers aren't likely to shoot 5.2% or worse from here on in either. So enjoy the losing while you can Oiler fans!
  • The Avalanche have not been so good at outshooting opponents at even strength this season. They've been outshot 1196-947 overall and 704-591 with the game close. This is not the mark of a good team. The percentages have been keeping them afloat. I do believe in Craig Anderson as a legitimate goalie but I've got to think that shooting 10.5% at EV with the score close isn't something that the Avs should count on.
  • Marc Pouliot makes his return to the Oilers lineup this evening. In his 4 AHL games he scored 1-5-6 and the Falcons won three of the games. The man is a difference maker! At least in the AHL. I hope he shows well enough that the Oilers decide Gilbert Brule is an excellent candidate for the (unintentional) pump and dump.