O, you iniquitous travelers!
You who arrive in town with oppressive Corsi ratings,
who will turn aside the few feeble shots of justice,
and rob this people of standings points,
who will abuse children only ten days old,
and make old men on the blue-line your prey!
What will you think on the day that you are punished,
when these children are strong and able to seek revenge?
To whom will you go for help,
when your wealth is tied up in old stars who can no longer perform?
How will you, O iniquitious travelers, avoid the basement,
and prevent yourselves from falling into the depths?
God will not forget how you have treated his people;
his anger will not simply fade away.
Detroit Red Wings (7-2-1) @ Edmonton Oilers (3-5-2)
Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Detroit Red Wings are still an incredible team, especially at the top end of their lineup. As of today, they've got six of the top sixty forwards in terms of Corsi/60 (Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Valtteri Filppula, and Tomas Holmstrom), which is terrible news for whichever two lines Mike Babcock decides to match them against (it's unbelievable that he'll have this choice playing in Edmonton, but what can you do). The other two lines may also have a hard time, since they'll be starting an awful lot in their own end of the ice, even if they do get to play against some of Detroit's lesser lights, which now include noted Oiler-killer Mike Modano. If you didn't hate the Red Wings before, the addition of Modano - a great player and probably a fine person, but he killed the Oilers throughout my high school years - should put you over the top.
Edmonton Oilers (3-5-2):
Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
Paajarvi - Gagner - Eberle
Penner - Cogliano - Brule
Jones - Fraser - Stortini
Whitney - Vandermeer
Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Foster
Detroit Red Wings (7-2-1)
Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Bertuzzi - Filppula - Franzen
Abdelkader - Modano - Cleary
Miller - Helm - Eaves
Lidstrom - Ericsson
Kronwall - Stuart
Kindl - Salei
By the Numbers:
- Detroit currently stands third in the NHL in shot differential per game (+6.6 shots per game), behind only the San Jose Sharks (+7.6 shots per game) and St. Louis Blues (+8.3 shots per game). The numbers put up by the Red Wings and Blues are particularly impressive because they've spent so much time leading games, and teams have a tendency to sit back (and get outshot) when they have the lead. Basically, the Central division is damn good.
- Before the last game, I mentioned Edmonton's PDO of 102.5. Well, after the loss in Vancouver, that number is only going up! The Oilers have now taken 204 shots and scored 19 goals at EV (excluding empty-net situations) and have allowed 266 shots and 17 goals for a PDO of 102.9 (9.3% shooting percentage plus 93.6% save percentage). The Oilers have been exciting to watch for sure, but you sure wouldn't guess the Oilers were a team getting that much love from the percentages based on the standings.
- The reason the Oilers aren't winning more often? Special teams, or more specifically, the team's penalty killing. The Oilers sit in dead last in the NHL with a penalty killing efficiency of 68.8%. Because of Jordan Eberle's two shorthanded goals (and the fact that the team takes fewer penalties than a lot of teams), they're actually not dead last in goal differential on the PK (way to go Colorado!), but it's a significant problem, one that can be partially laid at the feet of the team's goaltending - no goalie who's faced at least 30 shots on the PK was a worse save percentage than Nikolai Khabibulin's .732.
- Derek wrote earlier today about the amazing Nicklas Lidstrom. It's unbelievable to me that this player wasn't nominated for the Norris trophy again last season, and even more unbelievable that he's never been seriously considered for the Hart trophy. At 40 years old, I'm sure that last ship has sailed, but Lidstrom still hasn't slowed down much. He's still Detroit's leader on defense and plays a big role in every situation, leading the team in ice time on the power play, and finishing second in ice time on the penalty kill. He's not one of the team leaders in EV time on ice, but the man can only play so much! As it stands, he's 13th in the NHL in ice time per game, playing an average of 24:55. He's also currently tied for second in the NHL with 11 assists on the season, and on a per game basis he leads the league.
- Detroit has had 50 power play opportunities compared to only 41 short-handed situations, and are also tied for the lowest number of fighting majors in the NHL with three. One of those fights was superstar Pavel Datsyuk. The evidence that the Red Wings are letting other teams run their show is overwhelming! Clearly, they'll never be able to win with the current team's structure! Quick, call up Ken Holland, and let him beg for Steve MacIntyre before pounding his team into oblivion!