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Oilers v. Flames - Luke 2:8-12

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There were many from the towns of Alberta who were watching the CBC at night, when suddenly one of God's angels screamed down the ice and the glory of God shone around him, and the people were moved to the edge of their seats in anticipation. Then the angel pulled the puck around the defender, moved it to his forehand, then his backhand, and then to the top of the net and in so doing declared: "Do not be afraid for I have given you an Eberection of great joy for all the people. That very day, hope was birthed in Edmonton, and a victory over Calgary was given as a sign to all the people.

Calgary Flames (17-18-3) @ Edmonton Oilers (12-17-7)

Rexall Place, 8:00 p.m. MST
Television: CBC

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Calgary Flames are well out of the playoffs at this point in time, but there are plenty of signs that the team isn't really that bad. Their record in games decided by two or more goals is tied for eighth in the Western Conference and their -6 goal differential is tied for tenth and within ten goal differential seventh. They've generally been outshooting teams (+2.1 shots per game) too. They've had problems with the percentages and on special teams, but this team is good enough that, if they get lucky, they could work themselves back into the race for eighth.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (12-17-7):

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

Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Foster
Belle - Petry


Calgary Flames (17-18-3)

Tanguay - Jokinen - Iginla
Glencross - Morrison - Bourque
Hagman - Stajan - Kotalik
Kostopoulos - Moss - Jackman

Regehr - Bouwmeester
Giordano - Sarich
Pardy - Babchuk


By the Numbers:

  • The Flames and Oilers are at the bottom of the Western Conference for very different reasons. At the Christmas break, the Oilers were outshot wildly with the score close (they had 42.5% of Fenwick events), but were doing wonders with the percentages (their PDO was 102.4 with the score close). The Flames, however, have actually outshot their opponents with the score close (they had 51.3% of Fenwick events), but have been devastated by the percentages (their PDO with the score close was 97.9).
  • One thing the Flames and Oilers have in common is really poor special teams. Both teams are in the bottom third of the league in both PP efficiency and PK efficiency, which leaves the Flames with a special teams goal differential of -7 at this point in the season, and the Oilers with a special teams goal differential of -14.
  • Jarome Iginla is leading the Flames in scoring yet again this year with 35 points in 38 games. That said, he's also getting a tremendous amount of ice time, especially on the power play where his 3.78 5-on-4 minutes per game ranks 14th in the NHL. His points per sixty minutes with the man advantage (2.93) is somewhat less high in the rankings.
  • A lot of folks have been hard on Darryl Sutter for the team he's built in Calgary, but the man sure did get some fantastic bargains. Take, for example, Alex Tanguay, who looked like a real solid bet in the summer, and has come through for the Flames with 30 points in 38 games. Granted, Tanguay has one of the highest on-ice shooting percentages on the team at EV, but at least some of that is because of Tanguay's own high shooting percentage (18.2% this season), which has lasted long enough to think that it may well be a function of skill (18.8% on his career over 1133 shots).
  • The Oilers have made quite a few lineup changes tonight with Magnus Paajarvi taking a look from the pressbox. Paajarvi's struggles so far this season have been well-documented, but to recap in brief, he's among the worst on the team with a Corsi rating of -19.17 per sixty minutes of EV ice time despite getting the most favourable ratio of end-zone starts among Oiler forwards. Hopefully watching from up top will help him to figure out the game on the ice (I actually think that it will).