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Oilers v. Lightning - 1 John 3:1-3

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Do you see the great love that God has for us, that we should be known as children of God? Because that's what we are! The foolish fans of other teams can't see that we are truly God's chosen because they do not know God. But I tell you, dear friends, that we really are God's children, and the great things we will see on the ice cannot even be imagined. But we do know this: when Christ appears, the whole team will shine with his glory and march toward the Stanley Cup! Yes, and we have received a sign! All who recognize that we have H.O.P.E. because of him purify themselves, just as God is pure, and prepare themselves for the day of his deliverance.

Tampa Bay Lightning (15-10-3) @ Edmonton Oilers (10-12-5)

Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been pegged as one of the most improved teams this season, and I think they're a better club this year than last, they still aren't very good. The Lightning currently stand 10th in the Eastern Conference in terms of "clear victories" with a 6-8 record in games decided by two or more goals. They're also 11th in the Eastern Conference in goal differential at -12, which projects to a season-long goal differential of -35. They've built up a nice cushion in the playoff race out East, but they could easily fall back to the pack (of old and dying dogs - seriously, the playoff race in the East is sad, sad, sad).

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (10-12-5):

Hall - Gagner - Eberle
Paajarvi - Cogliano - Penner
Omark - O'Marra - Jones
Jacques - Fraser - Brule

Hot Sauce - Fried Fish

Whitney - Vandermeer
Smid - Foster


Tampa Bay Lightning (15-10-3)

Gagne - Stamkos - St. Louis
Malone - Moore - Tyrell
Bergenheim - Thompson - Hall
Harju - Pouliot - Purcell

Hedman - Clark
Kubina - Lundin
Ohlund - Jones


By the Numbers:

  • Dustin Penner is the most experienced forward in the Oilers' lineup tonight with 370 career regular season games. The scary thing? Andrew Cogliano is second with 273, and eight of the forwards dressing tonight have played less than 200 NHL games.
  • Tonight is a reunion of sorts for old friends Linus Omark and Johan Harju. The two young Swedes tore up the SEL as linemates with Lulea in 2008-09, and then both went to Moscow Dynamo and played together in the KHL. The pair came to North America to start this year, but both players were originally sent to the AHL. After posting impressive results (Harju has 23 points in 17 AHL, and Omark 26 in 26), both have been recalled. I'm sure Omark would have preferred his NHL debut had come sooner, but it must be pretty cool to be able to unexpectedly share this moment with one of his closest friends.
  • The other Oiler new to the lineup is centerman Ryan O`Marra, OKC's leader in EV +/-. O`Marra's been a huge surprise to me so far this season - his 14 points are only six off his previous career-high in the AHL, and his +/- is miles better than anything he's done in the past. Whether it's because he's finally getting to play with quality teammates, or because he's turned a developmental corner, O`Marra's performance has been very encouraging.
  • The Oilers aren't the only team with reinforcements coming from the farm. Earlier today the Lightning recalled old friend Marc Pouliot, and he's expected to play tonight in Edmonton. Pouliot's had a very good year so far in the AHL registering 24 points in only 19 games with Norfolk. This is Pouliot's second recall this season. In his first one, he was pointless and -3. There will be plenty of Oiler fans (Ben) who will be hoping for a much better showing from Pouliot tonight.
  • Taylor Hall needs just one more point to tie the record for highest-scoring "Taylor Hall" in NHL history. Let's make some history!