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Oilers v. Islanders - 1 Samuel 13:8-15

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The fans waited for seven years - the timetable set by the madman - but when the time came, everyone was overwhelmed by just how underwhelming the finished product really was. After three years, they all decided to take a break and think on what they had seen. When the team returned, the fans had begun to scatter, so the madman said, "Give me the phone! It's time for a rebuild, and this time we'll do it right!"

After some small trades were made, Wang showed up and said, "What are you doing?" The madman replied, "I saw that the fans were scattering, and how bad the team had been playing and so I picked up the pho-"

"You have been very foolish!" interrupted Wang. "You have never once tried to build a team up patiently. You've had all this time, and never once have thought it a good idea! If you had spoken consistently I would have allowed you to rule this team forever, but now your rule must come to an end. If rebuilding is the plan, there will be a new man for the job, patient and smart, one who will be willing to listen to everything I say!"

And with that, Wang went to the dressing room to find his man. When he walked in, he yelled, "Big news goalie!" but Rick was the only goalie in the room, so when he looked up, Wang panicked, and made up some big news for him too.

New York Islanders (12-19-6) @ Edmonton Oilers (12-19-7)

Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The race for the bottom of the league is on and this is a pivotal four-point game: a loss here and the Oilers are in 29th, a win and they take a three-point lead. Further, if these two teams manage to finish tied at the end of the year in both points and wins, the loser of this game will get the higher draft pick. Somehow, the incentive structure here seems all wrong...

As for the Islanders themselves, they're a bad team that's had a recent run of luck, similar to run the Oilers had before this seven-game skid. The Isles are 7-1-1 in their last nine games, but they're still the same crappy team they've been all year. During this nine-game stretch they've been out-Fenwicked 380-254 at EV, or 42-28 per game, and even if we make some allowances for score effects, that's still just plain awful. Sometimes goalies make saves, and sometimes shooters make shots, but it won't last forever, and this Islanders' team will be back to losing soon enough.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (12-19-7):

Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Brule - Cogliano - Penner
Omark - Reddox - Paajarvi

Stortini - Fraser - Jones

Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Vandermeer - Strudwick


New York Islanders (12-19-6)

Moulson - Tavares - Parenteau
Grabner - Nielsen - Bailey
Sim - Schremp - Reese
Joensuu - Konopka - Martin

Eaton - Jurcina
MacDonald - Hamonic
Hillen - Gervais


By the Numbers:

  • John Tavares is currently tied for third in scoring amongst rookies in sophomores with 27 points. That's well back of leader Matt Duchene (40 points) and just one point back of Jeff Skinner who leads all rookies with 28 points. I recall Garth Snow talking before the draft about potentially taking Duchene over Tavares and Hedman; I would have called him foolish at the time, but Duchene is looking awfully good right now (though, of course, developing for a year and a half with the Avalanche is a lot different than with the Islanders).
  • With 122 career regular season points, Andrew Cogliano has now moved past Marty Reasoner into 50th place on the Oilers' all-time scoring list. I don't know why, but Andrew Cogliano as one of the top fifty scorers in Oilers' NHL history just seems wrong.
  • The Islanders' three leading scorers this season are John Tavares (27 points), P. A. Parenteau (24 points), and Matt Moulson (21 points). Tavares was drafted first overall, but Parenteau and Moulson are both castoffs. At age 27, Parenteau has already set a new career high for games played, and Moulson played his first full year last season at age 26. Methinks Alexandre Giroux signed with the wrong bottom-feeder.
  • Without taking anything but current performance into consideration, how many defensemen on either of these teams could crack the Canucks' top six? I count Tom Gilbert and... one. I have a feeling that either of these teams would be happy to take Adam Larsson in the first round.
  • Kurtis Foster is sitting out as a healthy scratch, which is a real indictment of his game so far this season. His play hasn't been particularly good at EV all year, and over the last month it's oscillated between passable (good games) and horrendous (bad games). The last time Foster had a game where he was on the ice for at least two more Oiler chances than opposition chances was December 7th against the Ducks - that's a long time to be out there watching bad things happen.