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Oilers v. Senators - Psalm 95:3-7

Yahweh is an excellent God;
He, and not some crazy group of politicos, is our true ruler.
He holds in his hand the sheet of ice we play on,
And the wood that makes our sticks.
The deepest secrets of the game belong to him for,
As do the most inscrutable victories.

Let us jump up and cheer,
Let us shout before Yahweh, our Maker
For he is our God.
We are the people that he watches over,
The team under his care.

Ottawa Senators (9-9-1) @ Edmonton Oilers (9-6-2)

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

I took some heat when I suggested that the Ottawa Senators were merely bad. But so far, they're doing their best to make me look... well... a couple of blow-outs have hurt pretty bad, but they've generally done quite well. Their Fenwick percentage with the score tied is a much better than most (including me) expected at 50.9%, but what I thought was going to be strength has turned out to be a weakness. Craig Anderson has been terrible in net with an .894 overall save percentage, which includes a save percentage of just .900 at even strength (Brian Elliott's .947 just rubs salt in the woudn). If Anderson can get things together, the Senators should be okay. Not good, of course, but not in the lottery either.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (9-6-2):

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

Eager - Lander - Petrell

Smid - Gilbert
Sutton - Potter
Peckham - Petry


Ottawa Senators (9-9-1):

Greening - Spezza - Michalek
Foligno - Da Costa - Alfredsson
Daugavins - Smith - Condra
Winchester - Konopka - Butler

Phillips - Lee
Kuba - Karlsson
Cowen - Gonchar


By the Numbers:

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came into the NHL with a reputation for producing offense, and with fourteen points in his first seventeen games, he's off to a great start. Vision and passing are definitely two of his plus attributes, and he has played mostly on a line with snipers Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, so it's something of an oddity that Nugent-Hopkins has yet to register his first "first assist" of the season during five-on-five play.
  • Sam Gagner is out of the lineup with an injury, and while coach Tom Renney is calling it a precautionary measure, the fact that the third line has struggled mightily so far this season probably hasn't helped - his eleven-game goalless streak is the longest of his career since he started the 2008-09 season with fourteen consecutive games without a goal.
  • There are twenty-five players in the NHL with at least ten shots on goal and a shooting percentage of 20% or higher. The Oilers have two of them: Ryan Smyth and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
  • Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle have been playing in a lot of offensive situations so far this season, but have seen their ice time decline by about a minute per game as Tom Renney tries to provide them with shelter. And so far, the result has been less shooting. Hall has seen his shots per game decline from 2.86 last season to 2.69 so far this season, while Eberle has seen his shots per game decline from 2.29 to 2.06.
  • When I said "a lot of offensive situations", I really meant it! Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle are all in the top ten in the NHL in terms of end-zone start percentage. All three have had over 70% of their end-zone draws in the offensive zone.