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Oilers v. Red Wings - Ezekiel 25:15-17

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This is what Yahweh, the sovereign God of Edmonton has to say: "Because the Red Wings play with ennui in the regular season, splattering one team after another like mosquitoes and because they would dare seek revenge against my people by convincing Marian Hossa that Edmonton isn't the place to play I will speak. I have stretched out my hand against the Red Wings and - despite the fact that they were the superior team - I caused them to lose to the Penguins in the Cup final, and I am now considering whether or not to cut them off from the playoffs altogether. I know that I am filled with vengeance and that I deeply desire to let loose my wrath but... perhaps I will let them survive for a while longer to continue to punish the Flames whose evil knows no end. That way both teams will have felt my wrath and know that I am God. And if the Red Wings persist in stealing free agents from my team and should their fans continue to be unappreciative of their success, then I will redouble my efforts to punish them again next season. Then they will know that you must appreciate Yahweh's favour and not treat his most prized possession badly when free agency dawns."

Detroit Red Wings (34-23-12) @ Edmonton Oilers (21-42-7)

Rexall Place, 7:30 P.M. MDT
Television: TSN

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

For those of us who like the predictive value of Corsi, the Detroit Red Wings still look like a good team. They've generally out-Corsied their opponents significantly which usually implies a pretty good team. Although the gap narrows somewhat if you look only at situations when the score is close, they're still solidly outshooting the teams they face. Considering the fact that the Red Wings have outscored teams 58-40 on special teams, it certainly seems like this should be a club that's in the top half of the Western Conference. So what's holding them back? Percentages. The Red Wings have a PDO of 98.6 (.919 SV% and 6.7 SH%) and it's costing them goals. Now, some people might point out that this isn't the first time the Red Wings have had good shooting totals but poor percentages. In 2008-09 the Red Wings had a PDO of 99.3 and in 2007-08 it was 99.9. It's not as bad as this year, but the team has been on the wrong side of 100 pretty consistently. Furthermore, the Wings have been awfully lucky to get 51 games of .924 goaltending from Jimmy Howard who had never been better than .916 in four AHL seasons. I recently noticed that Howard's PK save percentage is among the league leaders at .906. Had Howard put up an average performance on the PK, it would cost his team 10 goals. So it's at least possible that although the EV numbers are a somewhat lower than they should be, the ST numbers are probably somewhat on the high side.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (21-42-7):

Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
Pouliot - Gagner - Nilsson
Penner - Cogliano - Brule

Minard - Potulny - Stortini

Gilbert - Whitney

Strudwick - Chorney
Johnson - Peckham


Dubnyk

Detroit Red Wings (34-23-12)

Franzen - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Filppula - Zetterberg - Cleary
Bertuzzi - Miller - Williams
Draper - Helm - Eaves

Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Stuart
Lilja - Ericsson

Howard

Behind the Numbers:

  • In games decided by more than one goal the Detroit Red Wings have a record of 18-17. That doesn't compare well with Detroit's possible first-round opponents. Chicago is 24-10, San Jose is 27-12 and Vancouver is 29-17.
  • With Patrick O'Sullivan out for at least another week that -32 looks more and more like it could stand as a new Oiler single-season record. And for those scoring at home it was Lupul (-29) traded for Pitkanen traded for Cole traded for O'Sullivan (-32). How would you rank these players from best to worst?
  • Tom Gilbert is now only 1 point away from 100 on his career. 72 defenders have collected 100 points or more since the lockout. Six of the top forty accumulated some of those points as an Oiler. Can you name them without checking?
  • The guy at the very top of the list above? Nicklas Lidstrom. He probably won't win the Norris trophy this year (Mike Green has 70 points in 66 games which is pretty incredible) but he's been, once again, pretty phenomenal at both ends of the ice. He's been one of the league's best penalty killers (his GAON/60 is tops among defenders who play 2 minutes per game or more on the PK at -3.45/60), is a force on the power play (his GFON/60 is fifteenth among defenders who play 2minutes per game or more on the PP at +7.82/60) and his goal differential at EV is a sterling +0.66/60 despite taking on the toughest minutes and getting the most difficult starting positions on his team. He's a beauty player and would probably still get my vote as the best defender in the NHL.