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Oilers v. Blue Jackets - 2 Kings 9:21-26 (A Classic)

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"Hitch up my team!" MacLean ordered. Once it was properly Hitched MacLean, president and general manager of the Blue Jackets, grew confident and rode out to meet ownership so that he might defend his future. He requested a meeting at Chili's since he'd recently heard fro his mentor in management that Chili's is where business is done. Ownership decided to meet him in front of the restaurant and MacLean met them there. He held out his hand and joked, "Do you come in peace?"

"Peace? What peace? How can there be peace as long as our team is a laughing stock around the league, without a single playoff game in our franchise history thanks to your hockey decisions which mirror those of a twelve year-old boy!"

MacLean turned and ran toward his car screaming, "Treachery Hitch! Treachery! We must escape so that they won't be able to fire me!" But Hitch had locked the doors. The owners walked up more convinced than ever and they fired him. The news pierced MacLean's heart and he slumped down, his face pressed against the roof of the car. Hitch got out of the car and the owners spoke to him: "Pick him up and throw him on the scrap heap of old management types who end up on television so that his foolishness will be widely recognized. Remember when we hired you and we heard the voice of Yahweh for ourselves, and it made this prophecy: 'I have seen the work of his hands and it is disgraceful. I will make him pay for his foolishness and deliver unto you a redeemer for I have taken pity on you.' So then, pick him up and put him on Sportsnet so that we may find our redeemer and the word of Yahweh may be fulfilled!"

Columbus Blue Jackets (16-11-3) @ Edmonton Oilers (11-14-5)

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a good team that just happens to be stuck in the toughest division in hockey. By almost any measure the Central division is cleaning up. Goal differential? At +22, they're leading the pack. Clear victories? The Central is dominating. Corsi percentage? When JLikens last updated, the worst team in the Central was 14th in the NHL. And as teams like the Blues, Blue Jackets, Predators, and Blackhawks beat up on each other, weaker teams from the Pacific and Northwest are stealing accumulating divisional points to take a run at the playoffs.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (11-14-5):

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

Peckham - Gilbert

Whitney - Strudwick
Smid - Foster


Columbus Blue Jackets (16-11-3)

Nash - Brassard - Voracek
Huselius - Vermette - Umberger
Moreau - Pahlsson - Dorsett
Sestito - Murray - Clark

Hejda - Tyutin
Klesla - Methot
Russell - Commodore


By the Numbers:

  • The Blue Jackets are one of eight teams in the NHL with a perfect record (they're 9-0-0) when leading after two periods. It's hard to believe that a third of the way through the season there are still that many teams who haven't blown a third period lead and gone on to lose the game.
  • Everyone loves the Jason Strudwick WOWY because even if it probably isn't the most rigourous analysis, it's just so perfect for how we all feel about Strudwick. For what it's worth (a good chuckle) here's how Columbus has done with Moreau in the lineup: 5-5-3 +29 -42. And here's what they've done with Moreau taking a seat: 11-6-0 +49 -40. This is fun!
  • Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets in shots with 114, good enough for 14th place in the NHL. The Oilers' leader? Taylor Hall. He's tied for 45th overall in the NHL with 85, another tremendously good sign for a young man who's certainly surpassed my expectations so far.
  • Both the Oilers and Blue Jackets are spreading out their ice time a little bit more than most other teams - neither club has a single forward among the NHL's top sixty in terms of ice time per game. That said, the Blue Jackets have three (and the Oilers have eight!) forwards ranked somewhere between 61st and 90th.
  • The Blue Jackets had big-time trouble last season between the pipes. The team's save percentage was a pretty darn poor .902, compared to a save percentage so far this season of .913. I don't know if Scott Arniel is good at motivating goalies, but if he isn't, he should be giving thanks that even though he inherited Hitchcock's goalies, he didn't inherit Hitchcock's goaltending problems.