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Oilers v. Maple Leafs - Isaiah 65:13-16

This is what Yahweh, sovereign over all things hockey, has to say:

"My servants will eat,
but you will continue to starve.
My servants will one day drink from the Cup,
but you will continue to be thirsty.
My servants will rejoice when they add to their team in June,
but you will be sad and filled with shame.
My servants will be joyful when they watch their best player,
but you will cry out with anguish.
Your name - "Toronto" - will be a curse word among my people,
for I, Yahweh, know all things, and consider you worthy of destruction;
in my eternal wisdom, I have made you a laughingstock par excellence.
But my people will be blessed by my name,
for I, Yahweh, will one day set my anger aside,
and forget the evil that they have done."

Edmonton Oilers (8-12-4) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (8-11-4)

Air Canada Centre, 5:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

After a quick 4-0-0 start to the season that left me feeling pretty smart about picking the Leafs to make the playoffs, Toronto has gone 4-11-4 since and put me in my place. One of the reasons I was more optimistic than most about the Leafs coming into the season was the extreme weakness of their penalty killing and goaltending in 2009-10, combined with a solid performance at EV. If the EV performance continued, I thought that the club was due to bounce back in goal, especially with Jean-Sebastien Gigeure taking over for Vesa Toskala, and that the boost in net would help them to kill a lot more penalties. Things haven't exactly worked out that way. Phil Kessel, the Leafs' top forward, has struggled to start the year, and the Leafs as a whole have had a hard time controlling the play. They've gone from outshooting opponents by 2.8 shots per game last year to being outshot by 0.1 shots per game this year. And the performance on the PK just hasn't improved. Somehow, the Leafs save percentage on the PK has actually dropped twenty points from last season's terrible showing, going from .832 to .812. That, my friends, is just plain terrib... still better than the Oilers.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (8-12-4):

Hall - Horcoff - Eberle
Penner - Cogliano - Brule
Paajarvi - Gagner - Jones
Jacques - Fraser - Stortini

Smid - Gilbert

Whitney - Vandermeer
Peckham - Foster


Toronto Maple Leafs (8-11-4)

MacArthur - Kadri - Kessel
Kulemin - Grabovski - Crabb
Sjostrom - Bozak - Versteeg
Orr - Brent - Brown

Kaberle - Schenn
Beauchemin - Komisarek
Lebda - Gunnarson


By the Numbers:

  • Derek recently wrote about Special Team Efficiency, and at the time of his writing, the Oilers and Maple Leafs were the two worst teams in the league, but that weakness has had a much bigger impact on the Oilers (-14 ST goal differential) than it has on the Leafs (-6 ST goal differential). The Oilers, of course, are in fact substantially worse than the Leafs in STE to begin with, but the Leafs are also helped by being the least penalized team in the league (they've only been shorthanded 72 times).
  • Despite being the least penalized team in the league, Colton Orr is one of the most penalized players in the league in terms of penalites per unit of ice time. At the other end of the equation, Zack Stortini is among the league leaders in terms of penalties drawn per unit of ice time. Guess which of these two fighters is getting into the lineup every night. Unbelievable.
  • The Leafs' leading scorer this season is Clarke MacArthur who has 18 points in 23 games. Before the season started, he probably would have been about my tenth or eleventh guess... maybe. When Clarke MacArthur leads your team in scoring, your team has some serious problems.
  • If we look just at the scoring chances over the last seven games, it looks like the Oilers are starting to turn a corner at even strength - since getting stomped by Chicago at home, they've outchanced their opponents 97-92 at EV in their last seven games for a chance percentage of 51.2%. However, we already know that over the long term scoring chances and Fenwick tend to converge, and the Fenwick is telling a different story. In those same seven games, the Oilers have a Fenwick percentage of only 45.6% at EV (+200 -240). In other words, over the last couple of weeks, the Oilers have been outchancing teams because of shot quality rather than shot quantity.
  • Ales Hemsky was back in the lineup long enough to register his first three-point game of the season. Amazingly, it was also the first time any Oiler has registered three points in a single game this season. It was also Hemsky's fifth multi-point game of the season, which ties him for the team lead with Ryan Whitney. Dustin Penner, Taylor Hall, and Magnus Paajarvi are next in line with three multi-point games each. Unfortunately, it seems that Hemsky is now back on the shelf, which is a shame because the Oilers are a lot more fun to watch when Hemsky's in the lineup, particularly when he's playing at the level he showed last night.