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Oilers v. Penguins - Matthew 1:18-24

Now, the drafting of a dynasty happened in this way: after Steve was hired he spent boatloads of money building a terrible team, but unbeknownest to him, this tragedy came by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so Darryl, a righteous man who knew business well but had a soft spot for poor managers, planned to "promote" him as he had done Kevin. After considering this for a time, an angel of Yahweh suddenly appeared to him and said, "Darryl, son of Edmonton, do not be afraid to keep this lout as your manager for two more years, for the fruit of his work is of the Holy Spirit. He will bring three young saviors, and you shall call the first The Cannonball, and he will bring hope to this people in a time of misery." Then Darryl remembered the word that was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, an imbecile will reign, and shall bear three sons, and they shall be called Immanuel," which means, "God with us." And so Darryl did as the angel commanded, and behold, one year later The Nuge arrived just as the angel had told him.


Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-0) @ Edmonton Oilers (0-0-0)

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

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report

The Penguins are off to the kind of quick start that everyone can appreciate with wins over both the Flames and the Canucks, but they'll be playing the back half of back-to-back games tonight and will, once again, be without Sidney Crosby. Of course, even without Crosby the Penguins have Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal up the middle, which is an awfully strong duo. It'll be interesting to see if Tom Renney tries to provide some shelter to his "top" line in this circumstance. If he does (and it's a sign of things to come), that whole line could have a monster year. If he doesn't, Nugent-Hopkins is going to get a real baptism by fire tonight because both of the Penguin centers looked great.


Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (0-0-0):

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Hemsky
Smyth - Belanger - Eberle
Paajarvi - Horcoff - Omark

Hordichuk - Lander - Jones

Sutton - Gilbert
Barker - Petry
Smid - Peckham


Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-0):

Neal - Malkin - Sullivan
Kunitz - Staal - Kennedy
Cooke - Letestu - Dupuis
MacIntyre - Vitale - Asham

Martin - Michalek
Letang - Engelland
Niskanen - Lovejoy



By the Numbers:

  • We talked a little bit over the summer about the Oilers having too few right-handed defensemen, which is why the Oilers have Theo Peckham playing the right side tonight. The Penguins have the opposite problem with five of their starting six being righties (Paul Martin is the lone exception).
  • Only one player appeared in all 82 games for the Oilers last season, and he's now playing (and yes, playing center) with the Anaheim Ducks. With two games in the books already, Andrew Cogliano's ironman streak now stands at 330 games.
  • You would expect Pittsburgh's shut-down pairing to be Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek, but against the Calgary Flames, all of the Penguins' defenders saw significant time against the Iginla-Tanguay combo (Martin actually saw the least time against them at even strength with just under four minutes). Things went a bit more according to form against the Canucks on Thursday, but even there, Michalek and Martin were only on for about half of the Sedins' ice time at even strength.
  • Steve MacIntyre hasn't played yet this season, but I expect that he'll be in the lineup tonight, and might be able to find a willing adversary in Darcy Hordichuk who's one of the few guys that takes fights against the superheavyweights. This pre-season he fought Matt Kassian, and in the last two seasons he's had bouts with Brian McGrattan, George Parros, Cam Janssen, and Derek Boogaard.
  • The six Oiler defenders in the lineup tonight scored a total of 63 points last season, which is thirteen more than Kris Letang who scored 50, and five less than the league leader, Lubomir Visnovsky, who scored 68.