I appeal to you, my fellow Oilogospherians, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - whose name is spoken with ferocity game in and game out around the league - to support one another, being perfectly united in your tolerance for differences. I have been informed that there have been some recent quarrels among you. What I mean is that I hear that some are saying, "Those who hope for wins are fools!" and yet others say, "Those who hope for losses are traitors!" and still others cry out, "Those who go to the games facilitate this garbage!" and finally, "Those who've given up are band-wagon jumpers! What are we, fans of the Canucks!?"
And so it is that everyone is in the right and everyone in the wrong. For isn't it true that God has given us the precious gift of the first overall pick? Yet it is also true that God meant for us to cheer his one true chosen team to victory. And of course it's true that while we cannot tolerate the thieves on top of this once-great team that we need to show God that we are faithful, no matter the circumstances. So let us remember that we are still one body sent to hope in God's chosen team, not for their intellect or power but by the faith that rises out of the grace of God. So let us support one another in these difficult times and help one another to find God's grace in what suits him best so that we can return united with a common purpose when autumn returns.
Edmonton Oilers (21-41-7) @ Minnesota Wild (33-29-6)
XCel Energy Center, 6:00 P.M. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
They just haven't been all that good. After a horrendous start and a tremendous resurgence the Wild have been pretty mediocre. On December 17th the Wild sat at 17-14-3 after 34 games. In the 34 games since then the Wild have compiled a record of 16-15-3. And that's not going to get it done. They haven't been particularly unlucky at EV in these last 34 games and if anything it's been the reverse. The team's PDO number over the last 34 games is 101.5 and they've actually been out-shot 813-732. I really thought that this team was a good one at the start of the year but it turns out that the talent on the roster just isn't as good as I had thought. Injuries have hurt but it seems to me that the Wild will need to add one or two players at the top of the roster in order to get the requisite trickle-down effect throughout the roster and get a push toward the top. Fortunately for them, they have the cap space to make such an acquisition. Now it's just a matter of finding the right player(s).
Edmonton Oilers (21-41-7):
Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
Pouliot - Gagner - Nilsson
Penner - Cogliano - Brule
Minard - Potulny - Stortini
Gilbert - Whitney
Strudwick - Chorney
Johnson - Peckham
Minnesota Wild (33-29-6)
Brunette - Koivu - Miettinen
Latendresse - Ebbett - Havlat
Earl - Brodziak - Clutterbuck
Boogaard - Sheppard - Kobasew
Barker - Zidlicky
Zanon - Schultz
Scott - Sifers
Behind the Numbers:
- Owen Nolan has seen a sharp decrease in power play time this season. In 2008-09 he spent 3:08 per game on the Minnesota power play. This season he's down to 2:24 per game. For the Oilers, the biggest drop in power play time belongs to Shawn Horcoff who went from 3:44 per game in 2008-09 to 2:40 per game so far this season.
- Zack Stortini has taken the most minor penalties so far this year with 23. Shawn Horcoff is second with 21 and Ethan Moreau is third with 19. The Minnesota Wild have seven regular forwards who average 0.5 penalties or less per 60 minutes of ice time at EV (including old friend Kyle Brodziak). The Oilers have three such players (Potulny, Nilsson, Cogliano).
- With his goal last night Dustin Penner now has 99 for his career and will be looking for number 100 tonight. If he makes it he'll become the 80th player to score 100 goals since the lockout. Three of the other 79 also spent at least part of their time since the lockout playing with the Oilers. Can you name them without checking?
- The Minnesota Wild are the sixth best team in the league in terms of shot prevention (28.8 shots against per game). They're one of only two teams in the top ten not currently in playoff position. The other is the Calgary Flames. They're also the only two teams in the top ten that have a negative shot differential overall.
- In his last eight games Theo Peckham has been out-Corsied 109-71 at EV. And this is his good call-up. The very nice PDO of 102.1 has kept him at "even" in the +/- column but I won't be a happy camper if this team has Peckham in the top six to start next season.