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Oilers v. Canucks - Job 10:1-7

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My team is repulsive.
There is, then, no reason not to complain,
not to give voice to the bitterness in my soul.

My dearest God:

What terrible thing have we done?
Why do you have us watch this abominable failure?
Do you smile when you see the righteous struggle
and the utterly hateful Canucks shout for joy?
Or do you have untrained eyes?
You try to help, but you don't know how?
Is your support like that of a mere man?
Are you no different than a meddling know-nothing owner?
Or a dithering, foolish manager?
(Given to us by those same hateful West coast weed-junkies)
Why do you make us watch the same mistakes over and over?
Have we not now suffered for all of our wrongdoing?
You know that we are not guilty,
and yet you oppress us incessantly,
and there is no escape from your hand.

Edmonton Oilers (13-19-7) @ Vancouver Canucks (26-8-5)

Rogers Arena, 8:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Vancouver Canucks are a formidable squad with good depth up front, exceptional depth on the back end, and one of the best goaltending tandems in the league. They lead the league in points, are second in goal differential, second in power play efficiency, fourth in penalty killing efficiency, and outshoot opponents by a significant margin at EV with the score close. Alain Vigneault uses his bench effectively, making the most of the players in the lineup, and Mike Gillis is unafraid to add to his team when the price is right (i.e. low). The Vancouver Canucks have as good a chance as any team in the league of winning the Stanley Cup - I, for one, will be hoping for an epic first-round choke.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (13-19-7):

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

Peckham - Gilbert

Smid - Petry
Strudwick - Foster


Vancouver Canucks (26-8-5)

Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Raymond - Kesler - Tambellini
Torres - Malhotra - Samuelsson
Volpatti - Glass - Hansen

Edler - Ehrhoff
Hamhuis - Bieksa
Alberts - Ballard


By the Numbers:

  • Congratulations are in order for Jim Vandermeer who played in his 400th career game last night against the Islanders. Surprisingly, Vandermeer is currently the team's Corsi leader among defensemen with a rating of -8.79/60 despite one of the tougher end-zone start ratios. By eye, I haven't much liked Vandermeer's game, but by the numbers, he seems to be doing a pretty darn good job.
  • Dustin Penner has the best zone shift on the team. He's had 45.7% of his end-zone draws in the offensive zone, but has 52.8% of his end-zone finishes in the good end of the ice. On the other end of the spectrum we find Linus Omark, who's had 53.6% of his end-zone faceoffs in the offensive zone, but has only 42.7% of his end-zone finishes close to the opposing goal.
  • Daniel and Henrik Sedin are back near the top of the scoring race again this season with 50 points in 39 games (for both of them; it's scary). This is obviously impressive, but as I've mentioned before, it's important to keep the context of their EV ice time in mind: the Sedins are currently taking about 70% of their end-zone faceoffs in the offensive zone, and both are in the top five in the league in that category. They're certainly making hay with the opportunity, but they owe a big thank you to Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres who are both in the top five on the other side, taking about 70% of their end-zone faceoffs in the defensive zone.
  • Vancouver's success this year is most frightening because Roberto Luongo is having only a good season so far. His .926 EV save percentage is very good, but only enough for 17th among goalies with at least 10 starts and his .879 on the PK is good only for 23rd. Luongo likely remains one of the best goalies in the game today, so if he starts playing really well, this Canucks team could be very hard to beat.
  • Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start tonight for the Oilers on the back half of the back-to-back against a tough opponent. My prediction is that Devan Dubnyk will have looked better last night than Khabibulin does tonight, not that that's a change of pace. On the year, Khabibulin's overall save percentage is .898, while Dubnyk's posted a very good .918. It's only natural, then, that Khabibulin take twice as many starts.