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Oilers v. Blackhawks - Ezekiel 34:20-24

Thus says Tambellini: I myself will judge which sheep are fat and which are emaciated. Just because some are feasting on the weak, don't think that I will declare them fat. For there is a lot more to judging sheep than which ones eat the most. I have set over these sheep a shepherd, my servant Renney, and he is caring for them as best he can. But not all sheep should be judged in the same way, and I Tambellini, am the ultimate judge of fatness.


Edmonton Oilers (9-5-2) @ Chicago Blackhawks (10-4-3)

United Center, 5:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Oilers

More analysis after the jump...


Home Team Scouting Report

The Blackhawks have had a great start to this season, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise. After all, the team won the Stanley Cup in 2009-10, and they were much better than their record indicated last season. When they rid themselves of Brian Campbell('s contract) during the summer, it allowed them to beef up their forward ranks, and the Blackhawks now boast one of the deepest groups in the NHL. When the club adds a capable center and a depth defender at the deadline, they'll be a formidable test for any team. And unlike last season, it doesn't look like they're going to need help from the Minnesota Wild to get in.


Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (9-5-2):

Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Paajarvi - Gagner - Jones

Eager - Belanger - Petrell

Smid - Gilbert
Sutton - Potter
Peckham - Petry


Chicago Blackhawks (10-4-3):

Stalberg - Toews - Hossa
Carcillo - Kane - Sharp
Bickell - Kruger - Frolik
Brunette - Mayers - Olesz

Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Leddy
Scott - Montador



By the Numbers:

  • Through sixteen games, the Oilers have outshot their opponents six times, or 37.5% of the time. Last season, the Oilers outshot their opponents just twenty-two times over the whole season, or just 26.8% of the time. When you consider how often the Oilers were trailing last season, and how often they've led this season, that's a solid improvement.
  • Chicago is one of fourteen teams that has yet to lose in regulation when they have the lead after the first period (they're 7-0-1). The Oilers are not in that group with a record of just 1-2-2 when leading after one period of play.
  • Ryan Smyth is one of just thirty players in the NHL who has played in at least ten games and averaged a point per game. There also three former Oilers on that list: Ray Whitney, Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Joffrey Lupul. And if we take out the games played minimum, we can add current Oiler, Alex Plante.
  • Even after getting roughed up a little bit by the Red Wings, Nikolai Khabibulin continues to lead NHL starters in both goals against average (1.18) and save percentage (.957). He's been good enough for long enough now that it'll take either a couple of real stinkers or another month to bring those back to reality.
  • The line of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been getting walloped in the last three games, but they're far from alone. Using Dennis King's scoring chance, no defender is better than Jeff Petry at 45.5% (+10 -12). The guys bringing up the rear? Andy Sutton (+2 -6 for 25.0%), Cam Barker (+5 -14 for 26.3%) and Corey Potter (+8 -21 for 27.6%).