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Oilers v. Stars - Psalm 137:7-9

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Do you remember, O Yahweh, what the Stars did
year after year in April?
"Let's knock them out again!" they said laughing,
"Let's toy with these losers!"
O hateful whore of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
change is on the horizon!
Yahweh our God will rejoice in casting you down,
for all that you forced us to endure.

Yes, and how happy we will be
to see the hopes and dreams of your children
end in nothing but wretched misery and despair.

Edmonton Oilers (15-25-8) @ Dallas Stars (29-15-5)

American Airlines Center, 5:30 p.m. MST
Television: TSN

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Stars have only played twice since these teams met in Edmonton, but my what games they were. After getting stomped 7-4 on the back half of a back-to-back by Calgary, the Stars traveled to Vancouver where they allowed seven goals for a second consecutive game, losing by a final tally of 7-1, and with the Oilers coming to town fresh off a victory, most observers expect another seven-spot tonight... especially since Nikolai Khabibulin is getting the start in goal.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (15-25-8):

Hall - Horcoff - Penner
Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark
Reddox - Cogliano - Jones
Jacques - Fraser - Stortini

Peckham - Gilbert

Smid - Petry
Vandermeer - Foster


Dallas Stars (29-15-5)

Neal - Richards - Eriksson
Morrow - Ribeiro - Langenbrunner
Ott - Benn - Burish
Sutherby - Wandell - Barch

Grossman - Robidas
Skrastins - Daley
Fistric - Niskanen


By the Numbers:

  • Brad Richards has been a great EV scorer for the Stars so far this year, both on an absolute basis (he's tied for ninth in the league with 34 EV points) and per unit of ice time (his 2.61 points per sixty minutes is good for 18th in the NHL). Surprisingly, one of the few guys bettering him in the rate stat is injured Oiler Ales Hemsky whose 2.97 points per sixty minutes at EV is good enough for 9th in the NHL.
  • Of the eight players ahead of Hemsky's scoring pace, only two of them have had a more difficult end-zone start ratio: Pavel Datsyuk and Sidney Crosby. I know he's struggled with injuries in the last couple of years, but if the Oilers do in fact decide to trade Hemsky, my expectations for the return are going to be mighty high.
  • Steve Ott is an interesting character. He's scored more than forty points in a season just one time, and yet he somehow makes close to $3M per season on his current contract. Some of that money is no doubt being given to him because he fills the agitator role, and hits, and all that good stuff... except that those things result in him taking a lot of penalties. In 2009-10 he took 1.6 penalties per sixty EV minutes and drew only 1.0. So far this year, he's taken 2.2 penalties per sixty minutes and drawn only 1.5. Given that, it's hard to see how Ott provides value for his team.
  • The Stars are currently projected to spend $52,222,272 on salaries at the NHL level, which places them 19th in the NHL. If the season ended today and playoff positions were determined by points percentage, the Stars would be one of six teams in the bottom half of the league in spending to make the playoffs, the others being Colorado (28th), Tampa Bay (25th), Carolina (24th), Nashville (23rd), and Phoenix (20th), which means that some of the more affluent teams have been particularly inefficient.
  • After another terrible night in the facoff dot against the Coyotes, the Oilers have now passed the Hurricanes for worst faceoff percentage in the league. The club's 43.7% success rate is the worst mark since the NHL started tracking it in 1997-98. How bad is it? 79 players have taken at least 500 faceoffs this season, and the Oilers have two of the worst three in Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner (thank Jochen Hecht!). 138 players have taken at least 200 faceoffs so far this season, and the Oilers have four of the worst fourteen: Cogliano (6th worst), Gagner (8th worst), Dustin Penner (9th worst), and Colin Fraser (14th worst). Three of the players in the bottom five are rookies (Derek Stepan, Marcus Johansson, and Alexander Burmistrov are all under 40%). The Oilers level of experience combined with their level of failure is truly historic.