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Oilers v. Sharks - 2 John 7-13

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For as you know from experience, dearest Captain, there are those in California who do not acknowledge the rightful seat of the Oildrop, and have deceived others into believing the same thing. Indeed, the Antichrist (who was nearly one of us!) has struck out against you, but watch out that you do not lose heart, and lose what your faith that we are truly chosen. For we know that anyone who sticks out a knee does not love God; but whoever continues in the good teaching of the faith, even when that one might be in a distant and much warmer city, that one loves God.

But let's say the Sharks or Ducks come to you and they disagree with this teaching. Do not welcome them! Destroy them completely! Anyone who welcomes them by allowing them to take two standings points and leave on their merry way shares in their wickedness.

I have so much to write to you, but I know that it is nearly pointless because of what the Antichrist has done. Besides, after God in his grace helps us to win the Cup this year, I'll bring it to Edmonton because that's where my heart is. Perhaps God will even let me stay so that we can once again talk face to face every day, and win that Cup together so that our joy may be complete.

Young Matt and Jarret, also chosen by God (just look at those contracts!), send you their greetings.

Edmonton Oilers (12-14-5) @ San Jose Sharks (17-11-5) Arena, 8:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

Both the Oilers and Sharks have been playing well since the last time these two teams met (the Oilers are 6-3-1 and the Sharks are 7-4-1), which you'd think might make for an interesting game tonight, but in reality, this should be an absolute clubbing. The Sharks are a large, physical team full of guys who can actually play hockey. All three of their top lines match up favourably against the Oilers top unit, and that's a very bad sign indeed. The one saving grace for the Oilers is that the already-not-so-good Sharks' defense is banged up too - when one of Kent Huskins or Nic Wallin is going to play well over twenty minutes, your team should get some chances. That said, the last time these teams met, the Sharks won on the road playing with four defensemen. I guess all we can do is H.O.P.E.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (12-14-5):

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

Peckham - Gilbert

Whitney - Strudwick
Smid - Foster


San Jose Sharks (17-11-5)

Mitchell - Thornton - Heatley
Clowe - Couture - Marleau
McGinn - Pavelski - Setoguchi
Ferreiro - Nichol - Mayers

Boyle - Vlasic
Huskins - Demers
Walllin - Braun


By the Numbers:

  • It is truly unbelievable to me that Dany Heatley is leading the Sharks in scoring so far this season. Wherefore art thou, Joe Thornton? 3rd on the Sharks (he's also behind Ryane Clowe!) and 34th overall. If that's how things shake out, it would be Thornton's worst finish by far since the lockout. Is the big center starting to decline?
  • Patrick Marleau also seems to be having a rough time so far this year - his -15 rating is right near the bottom of the league, and his offense has slipped from last year's level. In his case, however, the underlying numbers are telling a different story. Marleau has started a lot in his own zone, but he's moved the puck into the right end of the ice consistently, and he has a beauty Corsi number too. His downfall? An .879 save percentage behind him at EV. It's an indiscriminate disease, this one, and there's no telling when the suffering might subside.
  • The Sharks currently sit second in the NHL in shot differential per game at +5.9 shots per game, which suggests that this is a pretty darn good team (to my surprise, the only team above them is the Lightning at +6.0 shots per game). It also says to me that the league doesn't have a truly dominant possession team this season. Last year, the Blackhawks led the league at +9.0 shots per game, and in 2008-09, the Red Wings led with +8.5 shots per game. No one is really approaching that level so far this season, and parity reigns.
  • Or at least, parity reigns at the top end of the scale. The Oilers season performance of -9.2 shots per game is still well on track to be the worst in nearly a decade, and with Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff out for an extended period of time, that number could potentially reach double digits.
  • The Sharks and Oilers each have five players who have taken at least 150 faceoffs so far this season: the Sharks have five guys beating 50%, while the Oilers have none. In general, I don't think faceoffs are such a big deal in the long run for most teams since the league is grouped so tightly together, but if these two teams were to meet in the playoffs (HA!), the Sharks would have a significant edge.