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Oilers v. Kings - James 4:13-17

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Look here all you players who are thinking, "Yesterday we were in San Jose and played well! Let's celebrate with wine, women, and song; then tomorrow we will go to Los Angeles and win yet again!" You must remember that you can only see so far ahead. One minute, all is well, but the next, you're in the AHL. What you ought to say is, "Glory be to God for helping us to victory in San Jose! Now let us rest, pray, and work diligently that he might bless us again in Los Angeles!" Otherwise you are throwing your career away on licentiousness, and using your gifts for your own selfish pleasures instead of the good God has called for you to bring to his most holy community. Remember that you have a special calling not to satisfy your own sinful desires (at least not during hockey season), but to bring joy to many! Yes, remember that it is wrong to know what you ought to do, and then go off and do something else.

Edmonton Oilers (14-21-7) @ Los Angeles Kings (23-19-1)

Staples Center, 8:00 p.m. MST
Television: CBC

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

I really thought that the Los Angeles Kings would be one of the top teams in the Western Conference this season, taking over the Sharks' spot on top of the Pacific division and contending for the Western Conference pennant. When I look at their lineup, I have a hard time seeing why it hasn't happened. The forwards in particular are a deep group of two-way players that should be able to get results. And in some ways, the Kings have performed. They sit fourth in the Conference in goal differential at +16, and fourth in the Conference in the Clear Victory standings as well (games won by two or more excluding empty-netters). They outshoot their opponents, albeit modestly (+1.5 shots per game), and they've allowed the second fewest shots per game in the NHL (behind only... checks twice... New Jersey). The team is in the top half of the league in both penalty killing efficiency and power play efficiency and they've had more power play opportunities than they've had shorthanded situations (+10). But what they don't have are standings points, and that's what you need to make the playoffs.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (14-21-7):

Penner - Hall - Hemsky
Omark - Gagner - Paajarvi
Reddox - Cogliano - Jones
Jacques - Fraser - MacIntyre

Chorney - Gilbert

Peckham - Foster
Smid - Petry


Los Angeles Kings (23-19-1)

Smyth - Kopitar - Williams
Sturm - Stoll - Simmonds
Ponikarovsky - Handzus - Lewis
Clifford - Richardson - Brown

Scuderi - Doughty
Mitchell - Johnson
Martinez - Greene


By the Numbers:

  • The Los Angeles Kings have a goal differential of +16, but would miss the playoffs if the season started today. When I was eye-balling that number, it seemed incredible to me, and if the Kings double that to +32 and miss the playoffs it certainly would be, but teams at +16 or better have missed the playoffs more often than I had thought. The Sabres missed the playoffs with a +16 goal differential in 2008-09, the Wild missed that same season at +19. The Wild missed again in 2005-06 at +16, and the Avalanche missed with a goal differential of +21 in 2006-07.
  • I was a little bit disappointed to see that Devan Dubnyk was going to get his second straight start tonight. Ryan Smyth needs just four more points to get to 800 for his career (including regular season and playoffs) and if Nikolai Khabibulin was in goal, he'd be a virtual lock to get there tonight.
  • Dubnyk really has outplayed Khabibulin though. At EV, Dubnyk's save percentage is a full twenty points better (.929 vs. .909), and there's a seventy-point gap on the PK (.888 vs. .818). That .929 puts Dubnyk in 16th in the NHL among goalies with at least ten starts, which is pretty darn good if you ask me. As for Khabibulin's .909? There are only eleven goalies with at least ten starts who are worse.
  • Tom Gilbert played in his 300th career game against the Sharks, and Colin Fraser will be playing in his 200th career regular season game tonight against the Kings. It's a real shame I don't need that "regular season" qualifier for Gilbert. Anyroad, congratulations to both players!
  • Jonathan Quick has one of the best GAA's in the league at 2.20, but he's allowed three or more goals in each of his last four starts, which may be one of the reasons that the Kings have decided to go to Jonathan Bernier. The problem there is that Bernier has allowed three or more goals in seven of his eleven starts including eleven total goals in his last two games.