Yahweh, may your anger finally come to an end,
May the wrath you pour out to discipline us be finished.
Have mercy on us, O Yahweh, for we are weary from losing,
And our devotion is more obligation than joy.
Even the strong among us grow tired,
How long must we wait, O God? How long?
Turn, Yahweh, and deliver us!
Save us because of your unfailing love for all of Edmonton!
No one who follows after the Canucks gives you praise!
After all, who could call on your name while rioting?
We are worn out from groaning.
We watch terrible decisions all night long,
And put holes in our walls because of frustration.
My eyes burn when the puck is in the defensive zone,
And on the power play, my hands are clenched for I am filled with rage.
But please, O God, send these Canucks away with a loss,
And hear our plea for help!
We call on you in faith, confident that you hear our cries for mercy,
And that you accept our prayers,
For when we called on you in June
To overwhelm our enemies with shame and anguish,
You heard and acted,
And so we give you praise!
Vancouver Canucks (1-2-1) @ Edmonton Oilers (1-0-1)
Rexall Place, 8:00 p.m. MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
Over the last several seasons, the Oilers having an edge in the standings on the Canucks has been a rare occurrence, and while that's certainly not a complaint about the tonight's situation, it is a reminder that the current state of affairs may not last long. The Canucks come in riding a two game losing streak, which hasn't happened since Game 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals :) but the fact remains that they'll be an excellent team again this season. Nagging playoff injuries to Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler have them off to a slow start this year. With two thirds of their second line in the pressbox, their replacements have been snakebitten: Cody Hodgson, Mikael Samuelsson, and Marco Sturm have combined for just one even strength goal in four games. That obviously isn't good enough, but disappointingly (or thankfully if you're a Canuck fan), the underlying numbers suggest a line that's performing quite well. The line owns three of the top four Corsi numbers on the team, and lots of shots but no goals always results in a situation where the PDO numbers are pretty darn poor; these ones don't disappoint: 77.7, 89.4, and 94.1. As that situation normalizes, and the Canucks get some forwards back from injury, they should start winning. And heck, if they get healthy and add a forward at the deadline (please not Ales Hemsky!), that Sturm-Hodgson-Samuelsson line could end up being their fourth.
Edmonton Oilers (1-0-1):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Paajarvi - Belanger - Omark
Petrell - Lander - Hordichuk
Smid - Gilbert
Barker - Peckham
Sutton - Potter
Vancouver Canucks (1-2-1):
Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Sturm - Hodgson - Samulesson
Higgins - Malhotra - Hansen
Volpatti - Lapierre - Weise
Hamhuis - Bieksa
Edler - Salo
Ballard - Tanev
By the Numbers:
- The Oilers "top" line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle have a combined 140 games of NHL experience. That's less than every Canuck dressed tonight save Cody Hodgson, Aaron Volpatti, Dale Weise, and Chris Tanev. You know you're rebuilding when...
- Sadly, Ryan Jones' spot atop the Corsi lasted for just one game, so any Twitter bragging will need to be put off to another day. The new leader? Why, Darcy Hordichuk, of course! His rate of +15.13 per sixty (EV) minutes leads the team handily. Make it your first tweet, Darcy!
- The Oilers' top pairing of Tom Gilbert and Andy Sutton have had a nasty ride through two games. Not only are they playing a lot of minutes, they're also getting a huge number of defensive zone draws. Through two games, Gilbert has been on the ice for 4 OZ draws at evens compared to 14 in the DZ, while Sutton sits at 4 and 13. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're getting the tough match-ups. Against Minnesota, no defenders played more against the Mikko Koivu line than Ladislav Smid and Theo Peckham, while against Pittsburgh, Cam Barker and Jeff Petry had the most time against Jordan Staal. It seems that Tom Renney is a lot more concerned about starting positions than he is about opposition.
- Of course, things on the back-end will change tonight. Corey Potter makes his debut, and Jeff Petry gets sent to the press-box, while Ladislav Smid moves up to the "dirty work" pairing with Gilbert. Petry wouldn't have been my choice for the press-box (I'd have gone with Peckham), but it's probably smart to see Potter in a regular season game before Ryan Whitney comes back and someone needs to get sent down.
- The situation up front is similar to what's happened on the back end: Shawn Horcoff is getting the lion's share of the defensive zone assignments, but isn't necessarily getting the tough assignments. His differential is the same as Sutton's with 4 OZ faceoffs and 13 in the DZ, but against the Wild, no center saw more of Koivu than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and against the Penguins, Eric Belanger saw Jordan Staal more than any other centerman.