Dearest Oilers, do not forget Yahweh's commands;
instead, remember his faithfulness to you.
Following his commands will prolong your career many years,
and bring you great prosperity in free agency.
Let hard work and brotherhood guide you;
let them be pasted on your dressing room door with stickers,
and on your hands with the blood of your enemies.
You will then be granted Yahweh's favour,
and hoist the Cup in the sight of both men and God.
Trust in Yahweh with all your heart,
and do not fret over your own very limited abilities.
Acknowledge him after every goal,
and he will never let you fall to a team as cursed as the Blue Jackets.
Never be wise in Doug MacLean's eyes;
instead, fear Yahweh, and shun the team he has cursed
with years of foolish management,
and no playoff wins.
Do all of these things and your body will be healthy -
your bones will never break.
My dearest High Priest, honour Yahweh with your own money,
and make your own contribution first.
If you pay for the first twenty-five percent,
Yahweh will provide the rest!
Just watch as funding for the new Temple explodes from the City!
My favoured Oilogosphere, do not despise Yahweh's discipline,
or become weary of the losing he will have you endure.
Yahweh disciplines those he loves,
and your High Priest must learn not to surround himself with foolishness.
Edmonton Oilers (2-4-1) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-0)
Nationwide Arena, 5:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
After recording chances for the Blue Jackets last game against the Flyers, I came away impressed by their physicality, their depth at forward, and the general reliability of the men on the blueline. The Jackets play a pretty conservative game from the back-end, which should limit the number of five-bell chances they allow in transition. In other words, not good news for the young Oiler forwards. They also play a very physical game, especially in the offensive zone where their most physical forwards try to force turnovers from panicking defenders. In other words, not good news for the decrepit Oiler defense. The Jackets are also one of the few teams who try to run a checking line at even strength with Samuel Pahlsson leading the checkers against the best the opposition has to offer, which allows skilled players like Rick Nash to feast on the leftovers. Given the (lack of) bench management employed by the Oilers, the Jackets shouldn't have any trouble matching Pahlsson's group against Gagner, Hemsky, and Penner, which means Rick Nash will be taking on Horcoff and kids, just kids, or the vaunted fourth line. The Jackets are not, in my opinion, a great team, but they could sure make the Oilers look bad tonight.
Edmonton Oilers (2-4-1):
Penner - Gagner - Hemsky
Paajarvi - Horcoff - Eberle
Hall - Cogliano - Brule
Jones - Fraser - MacIntyre
Whitney - Gilbert
Smid - Vandermeer
Strudwick - Peckham
Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-0)
Nash - Brassard - Voracek
Umberger - Vermette - Dorsett
Wilson - Pahlsson - Clark
Filatov - MacKenzie - Boll
Klesla - Methot
Hejda - Stralman
Tyutin - Holden
By the Numbers:
- As you probably already know, the Oilers haven't won on the road in regulation in twenty-seven consecutive games. Just before that streak, the Oilers actually won five in row (although two of those came in the shoot-out) with a very effective fourth line of Robert Nilsson (bought out), Ryan Stone (not re-signed), and Zack Stortini (sitting in the press-box so that Steve MacIntyre can sit on the bench). The line was immediately broken up after the five-game winning streak and was, to my knowledge, never re-united. The curse of the... Swedish Sasquatches?
- Last season's first game against Columbus was Edmonton's high-point of the season. Down 4-1 in the second period, the Oilers roared back with the next four goals to take a 5-4 lead and added an empty-netter for a 6-4 win. Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky each had five points on the night, while Sam Gagner had three. The Oilers were 6-2-1 and the story was that the team was finally fun to watch (damn that Craig MacTavish!). This year the record isn't so good, but the team is again fun to watch, at least in October. Let's hope that this year it stays that way by the time we get to April.
- With an assist against the Flames, Dustin Penner is now the 40th highest all-time regular season scorer with the Edmonton Oilers, having accumulated a total of 151 points. The next man to pass is Fernando Pisani who sits in 39th with 153. By the end of the season, Penner should definitely be able to break into the top 30.
- Old friend, Ethan Moreau, will be out of the lineup tonight after breaking his hand, but he's had a splendid start on the checking line in Columbus. Despite the most difficult Zone Start ratio on the team (37.0%), Moreau also has one of the very best Corsi ratings (7.71/60). I know it's only been five games, but I certainly don't remember a five game stretch like that in Edmonton last season!
- Devan Dubnyk is making his first start of the season tonight, and I can only hope that he plays really well. Like, seventy-shot shutout well. So well, that the Oilers stop carrying around three goalies and send Jeff Deslauriers to Oklahoma or another NHL team. Unfortunately, that kind of result isn't likely. I know that Dubnyk had a great last few games to end 2009-10, but an .889 save percentage in over 450 shots just isn't very good. Let's hope this year is different!