That same day the pessimists, who say there is no resurrecting the Boys on the Bus, came with a question: "O great and wise Tambellini," they said in their familiar sarcastic tone, "We all know from the scriptures that the Oilers were chosen by God, but is it not obvious that his punishment is now being poured out on this team because of the incompetence and arrogance of its leaders? And besides, can't you see that the great team of old was a unique blessing? They had the greatest player to ever play the game, and five more Hall of Famers besides!"
Tambellini replied, "You bunch of clucks! You obviously don't know either the scriptures or the power of God. That dynasty didn't appear by luck, or through some kind of special managerial talent, but because of God's favor. And God is showing us his favor again! And have you not read what God said to you? 'I am the God of Gretzky, the God of Messier, and the God of Kurri.' So you see, he is not the God of the retired, but of those playing today!"
When the crowds heard this, they were amazed at his teaching.
Edmonton Oilers (2-2-2)
Rexall Place, 8:00 p.m. MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Rangers come to town after wins in both Vancouver and Calgary, but they were outshot in both contests, and in the case of Vancouver, were handily outplayed. So far this season, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik have mostly been playing together, which makes the Rangers a pretty obvious team to match against. That plays well for Tom Renney who seems to have settled on a line (Smyth - Horcoff - Jones) and defensive pairing (Smid - Gilbert) for checking duties. With Marc Staal and Michael Sauer injured, the Rangers' defense - Dan Girardi, a rookie, two sophomores, and two journeymen - should leave some holes for the rest of the Oilers to exploit offensively, particularly when the Rangers have their bottom six on the ice. Of course, you could have said the same thing in Vancouver and Calgary, and they scored just two goals between them.
Edmonton Oilers (2-2-2):
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Paajarvi - Belanger - Gagner
Eager - Lander - Petrell
Smid - Gilbert
Whitney - Potter
Sutton - Barker
New York Rangers (2-1-2):
Stepan - Richards - Gaborik
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust
Rupp - Christensen - Newbury
McDonagh - Girardi
Del Zotto - Bell
Erixon - Eminger
By the Numbers:
- Through six games, neither Nikolai Khabibulin nor Devan Dubnyk had made consecutive starts. But with Khabibulin currently second in the NHL in save percentage (96.2%, which trails Jonathan Quick's 96.7%), Tom Renney is breaking the pattern, and will start Khabibulin again tonight after his mostly excellent (and occasionally putrid) performance against the Wild.
- With such great goaltending, you'd expect the Oilers to be off to a roaring start, but while they've been good (and lucky) between the pipes, they've had no luck at all at the other end of the ice: with a save percentage of 94.0% and a shooting percentage of 6.0%, the team's PDO is a nice even... 99.9... damned rounding errors.
- Thanks to the percentages at both ends of the ice, the Oilers are now the only team in the league that has yet to have a game decided by two or more goals (excluding empty-netters), and haven't themselves scored more than one goal at even strength in any game (again, excluding empty-netters).
- One of the snakebitten Oilers is Linus Omark who hasn't recorded any goals (or points, for that matter) in the five games that he's played, and won't get a chance to remedy that tonight as Tom Renney has chosen to take him out of the lineup. But with just seven shots on goal, Omark doesn't have much reason to curse the gods. Jordan Eberle, on the other hand, is on an 0 for 19 streak, which is good enough for the fifth most shots without a goal in the NHL behind Evander Kane (0 for 20), Jeff Carter (0 for 20), Blake Wheeler (0 for 22), and Dennis Seidenberg (0 for 23).
- After playing a total of 6:49 through two games, Ben Eager nearly doubled his season's ice time against Minnesota with 6:44. But in a strange turn, that 6:44 includes three shifts in the last ten minutes of the third period, and one with less than three minutes to go and a one-goal lead. Adn this while Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle were busy sitting on the bench for the last ten minutes of regulation. That, my friends, is (capital "B") Bizarre.