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Oilers v. Sabres - Luke 1:5-22

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And so it was in the days when the Blackhawks ruled the land that a certain coach named Quinn appeared. He was righteous before God and walked in all of the old-timey ways of his ancestors, but he had never won the Stanley Cup and was now well-along in years. One day, as the coach was preparing for a game, an angel appeared to him from God when he was all alone. When Quinn saw him, he was paralyzed with fear, but the angel said to him, "Do not fear! God has heard your prayers; this team will stumble down the stretch and select Taylor Hall. He will be great in the sight of God, not given to the passing glories of wine and women, but instead filled with the Holy Spirit to bring joy to a great people. He will go before the one who is yet to come and prepare the hearts of his people, turning the hearts of both fathers and children to the one true team. Many will rejoice at the selection, and you will then go on to win the Stanley Cup!"

The old man was astonished at these words and said, "How can I know that this will really happen? I am an old man, and do not have many years left to win the Cup."

Then the angel said, "I am a mother-fucking angel you twat! I stand in the presence of Almighty God! What in the sweet fuck is wrong with you? Because you didn't believe my words, you will be reassigned to some meaningless role in the organization until all these things are fulfilled."

And so it was that the others in the organization waited for him and wanted to fire him, but because they could tell that he had seen a magnificent vision they waited until the end of the season, and so as not to anger God, reassigned him to some meaningless role in the organization rather than letting him go completely.

Buffalo Sabres (14-18-4) @ Edmonton Oilers (12-16-6)

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

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Sabres have struggled so far this season, and it's about to get worse with several key players out of the lineup. Tyler Myers didn't play last night in Calgary because of the flu, and is likely to be out again tonight. Their leading scorer, Derek Roy, is gone four to six months, and Ryan Miller seems to have injured his clutch bone because he's been letting in game-winning goals left, right, and center. Considering the team was a division winner just last season, being out of the hunt in December must be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (12-16-6):

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

Gilbert - Peckham
Whitney - Petry
Smid - Foster

Khabibulin

Buffalo Sabres (14-18-4)

Stafford - Hecht - Pominville
Ennis - Niedermayer - Vanek
McCormick - Gaustad - Grier
Gerbe - Adam - Kaleta

Sekera - Morrisonn
Leopold - Montador
Rivet - Weber

Miller

By the Numbers:

  • Buffalo's leading scorer, Derek Roy will be out of the lineup tonight with an injury. His 35 points in 35 games is particularly impressive considering the Sabres have only scored 91 goals on the season, which means that Roy has been in on 38% of the Sabres' offense.
  • The Sabres are one of only four teams in the NHL with a perfect record in the shoot-out so far this season (the Penguins, Avalanche, and Kings are the others). The other three teams were all above .500 in the shoot-out last season, but this is a new development for the Sabres who were only 4-6 in 2009-10.
  • Despite their poor record, the Sabres are actually fourth in the NHL in outshooting, generating 4.2 shots per game more than their opponents. Some of that is undoubtedly the effect of playing from behind so often, but I happen to know of another team that plays from behind quite a lot but doesn't have that level of success in terms of maintaining possession.
  • As an Oiler fan, it's hard not to remember the Thomas Vanek offer sheet every time the Sabres come to town. So far this season, Vanek leads the Sabres in goals with 13, but he's also last on the club in +/- at -12. The man can certainly score goals, but it's hard to imagine the Oilers being in a better position today if that deal had gone through.
  • After going -12 in the first 15 games of the season, Tyler Myers has gotten back on track, and has posted a +4 rating since. Derek mentioned that Myers has had some bad luck so far this year, but I'm going to guess that it came almost exclusively near the beginning of the season.