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Oilers v. Ducks - 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

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But our recent traffic reports suggest good news about the faith and love that you have for the Oilers. It seems that with exceptional moments taking place each night, more and more of you are watching this team for the purpose of enjoyment rather than out of grudging devotion, even as we do too. So whether they win tonight or not, we will nevertheless remain encouraged about you because of the faith you've shown in a losing team after such a small streak of wins. It gives each one of us writing a sense of new life to be reassured that you, our readers and dear brothers and sisters in the faith, are standing firmly behind this team despite its, shall we say, "issues".

We all thank God for the great joy we've been able to share in these last several games! Night and day we write articles for you, which is easy to do with great joy when there is reason to celebrate! And so we ask God that we might have even more reason to celebrate very soon! May it be that the bond God has established between us while we persevered together through hard times will become a bond of celebration as this team turns the corner and becomes worthy of the title, "God's Favoured Team". Let us stand together before God with strong and faithful hearts, knowing that he will indeed bring the Cup back again by way of the holy people whom he has called for the task. So let it be!

Anaheim Ducks (13-13-3) @ Edmonton Oilers (10-12-4)

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: TSN

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Ducks have been pretty much as advertised so far this season: the top three forwards are doing a good job of moving the puck to the right end of the ice, especially considering the fact that two of those three are starting the majority of their shifts in the defensive zone. The other big man, Jonas Hiller, has been good but not great so far this season, in providing the Ducks with above-average goaltending. Teemu Selanne is clicking along at a point per game pace, and that's got to be considered exceeding expectations for the old Finn. On defense, Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman are taking on the toughs in the defensive zone and still coming out on top, which is an awfully impressive showing. The problem for the Ducks is... everybody else. They're either terrible or too young or both, and as a result the "big seven" have only been able to drag the Ducks to a .500 record. Honestly, I don't think it's going to get any better.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (10-12-4):

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

Peckham - Gilbert

Whitney - Vandermeer
Smid - Foster

Khabibulin

Anaheim Ducks (13-13-3)

Ryan - Getzlaf - Perry
Blake - Koivu - Lupul
Chipchura - Marchant - Parros
Beleskey - Bonino - McMillan

Visnovsky - Lydman
Fowler - Mara
Sbisa - Sutton

Hiller

By the Numbers:

  • The gap between scoring chances and Fenwick continues to widen for these Edmonton Oilers. After Saturday's win against the Blues, the Oilers now have a scoring chance percentage of 51.4% (+133 -126), and a Fenwick percentage of 44.6% (+249 -309) at EV over their last nine games. On the one hand, that's not a very big sample. On the other hand, if that was the available data over the course of a playoff series (or two), would we say that the Oilers outplayed their opponents or not?
  • With the news that Ales Hemsky is probably out for about a month, it's worth reminding everyone that over the last five seasons (2005-06 to 2009-10), Hemsky has averaged only 62.6 games played per year, and has only once played in at least seventy-five of the team's games. I really enjoy watching the man play, but as a decision on his future draws closer, health has got to be a pretty major concern.
  • One player not getting mentioned much in Rookie of the Year discussion at this point, but who may yet be a contender by the end of the season is Ducks' defenseman Cam Fowler. Fowler is currently third in scoring for rookie defenders and is playing well over twenty minutes per game in Anaheim's top four. He has a role on the power play, so some points should come for him there. His possession metrics to this point haven't been particularly impressive, but he's also started quite often in the defensive zone, which might change as the season progresses.
  • After losing to the Coyotes 3-0 on Sunday night, the Ducks now have the worst record in the Western Conference in games decided by two or more goals (no empty-netters allowed!) at 3-7 (check out the "Clear Victory" records for each team on the right-hand sidebar!). This tends to be a pretty decent predictor of future performance, and that could mean the Ducks joining the draft lottery party.
  • Trivia time! Do you know the ten defensemen in Oilers' history with more regular season NHL assists as an Oiler than Tom Gilbert? If that's too easy (Bruce)... do you know the thirty-seven defensemen in Oilers' history with more regular season NHL assists as an Oiler than Ryan Whitney?