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Oilers v. Avalanche - Psalm 107:10-16

The Oilogosphere is left to sit in darkness and unending sadness;
the Oilers suffer defeat even to weak teams like the Avalanche.
Why? Because of rebellion against the words of God
and ignorance toward true wisdom.
For this Yahweh has given the Oilogosphere over to cynicism and bitterness;
when the Oilers stumble, there is now none left to pity them.
But now we must cry out to Yahweh in our time of trouble
that he might come down and judge management in our time of need!
Let the Oilogosphere be filled with light and joy!
let a new Oiler walk to the podium and declare "Seguin!"
And then we will give thanks to Yahweh for his great mercy,
for the grace he has shown us.
It is Yahweh who has brought the Oilers so low.
Let us repent of our misdeeds and be saved!

Edmonton Oilers (18-32-6) @ Colorado Avalanche (31-19-6)

Pepsi Center, 8:00 P.M. MST
Television: CBC

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report: Since starting the year 12-3-2 the Avalanche have gone 19-16-4. And while that's not bad, it's not exactly good either. I've been tracking scoring chances for the Avalanche this year so I've seen them a whole lot (though I've only finished the first thirty games) and I can tell you that the 19-16-4 team is a lot closer to the true talent of the hockey club, though even that's being generous. The Avalanche get brutally outshot to the tune of -5.3 shots per game. You may recall that since the lockout no team has made the playoffs getting outshot that badly and more often than not they end up being a lottery team. After 36 games they were dead last in Corsi ratio at EV both overall and with the score tied. This is a bad team at EV. But they've outscored their opponents 5-on-5 103-94 because of very strong percentages (PDO of 102.2) that get even stronger when the score is close (PDO of 103.1). They get outshot. They get outchanced. When it comes to the 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche, I am an unbeliever.

But I do think they'll make the playoffs. The Avalanche are much better at home than they are on the road and have a favourable schedule in that regard (15 at home and 11 on the road). They also don't have the toughest schedule with 12 games left against teams outside of the top 9 in the West or top 5 in the East. Basically, if their goaltending can stay strong, they should be able to maintain .500 hockey. If they do that, their odds of making the playoffs are over 90% which will make them one of the worst teams to make the playoffs since the league expanded to thirty teams.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (18-32-6):

Penner - Gagner - Cogliano
Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
O'Sullivan - Potulny - Comrie

Jacques - Pouliot - Stortini

Grebeshkov - Gilbert

Chorney - Visnovsky
Strudwick - Plante


Colorado Avalanche (31-19-6)

Wolski - Stastny - Svatos
Galiardi - Duchene - Yip
Stewart - O'Reilly - McLeod
Mercier - Durno - Tucker

Hannan - Quincey
Foote - Cumiskey
Liles - Wilson


Behind the Numbers:

  • The Avalanche come into the game having lost four of their last five games with the only win coming against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets were so depressed that they lost to the Avalanche that they fired their coach.
  • Wojtek Wolski is a great player. He's second on the Avalanche with 45 points. He leads the Avalanche in Corsi (minimum 20 games) at -3.47/60 despite carrying a difficult FO load (195 OZ v. 245 DZ) and facing and taking on reasonably difficult competiton (Gabe Desjardins' three methods rank him 2nd, 4th and 5th among regular Avalanche forwards). And he's 23 years old.
  • The year Wolski was drafted (2004) the Edmonton Oilers selected Devan Dubnyk 14th overall. Had they decided (as all teams should) that drafting goaltenders in the first round is really, really stupid they likely would have drafted a forward. The next forward taken? Wojt... just kidding. He wasn't taken until #21. The next forward taken was Alexander Radulov.
  • The Oilers leader for Corsi/ice time on the season? Ryan Smyth Potulny Stone.