Now, dear fans, we want you to know what will happen to those players who have been traded so that you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that even though he once died, our Lord was raised again to new life, so also those who have been traded will be raised up, if indeed they left as lovers of the Oildrop.
And hear this from the Lord: some of those who left as lovers of the Oildrop were meant to leave so that they might win in their time, while others who were meant to stay are blessed in surprising ways: with a contract so restrictive it can help force his way home; with play so anemic that the only ones who love him are in Edmonton; or even with a fall on draft day to play for the team he's always loved. And then, when the time is right, God will bless this team with a Stanley Cup, and every player will raise his hands and shout, lifting the Lord's Cup high into the heavens in celebration. And all of us who watch will be so filled with emotion that we will praise God for his most generous and wonderful grace. I implore you, then, to encourage one another with these words.
Edmonton Oilers (7-2-2) @ Los Angeles Kings (6-3-2)
Staples Center, 8:30 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Home Team Scouting Report:
Like the Oilers, the Kings are off to a good start, but unlike the Oilers, that strong play doesn't come as a surprise. They were already a good club last season, and the addition of Mike Richards in the summer looked like it was going to make a huge difference for the Kings, especially at home where Terry Murray could use Richards to take on the other team's best, and thus provide Anze Kopitar's line with easier match-ups. In fact, Terry Murray has only partially adopted this strategy. In their last home game against the Devils, for example, Richards saw more of Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise than any other Kings' forward, but was only out there for about 55% of their five-on-five ice time. In addition, Kopitar actually has one of the tougher zone-start ratios on the club so far this season.
The current system has worked well so far - Kopitar is on pace for 104 points and the Kings are winning - but I'd be surprised if the Kings don't end up going with the Alain Vigneault bench, which would mean Kopitar taking easy zone-starts and medium competition (the Sedin group), Richards focusing on the opposition's best without worrying much about where he's starting (the Kesler group), and Stoll making up the difference with defensive zone starts against lesser opponents (the Malhotra group). It just makes too much sense.
Edmonton Oilers (7-2-2):
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Paajarvi - Belanger - Gagner
Eager - Lander - Petrell
Smid - Gilbert
Petry - Potter
Peckham - Teubert
Los Angeles Kings (6-3-2):
Gagne - Kopitar - Williams
Parse - Richards - Brown
Penner - Stoll - Richardson
Clifford - Lewis - Moreau
Mitchell - Doughty
Scuderi - Johnson
Martinez - Greene
By the Numbers:
- Linus Omark was sent to the AHL earlier this week. In a related development, Linus Omark has the worst five-on-five PDO number on the team at 93.5, which includes an on-ice shooting percentage of 0.0%. But Omark isn't alone. Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, and Ben Eager also haven't been on the ice for an Oiler goal five-on-five. Paajarvi leads that group in ice time with just over two hours of five-on-five play without a goal (2:01:13).
- Colten Teubert, on the other hand, was called up from Oklahoma City and might play his first NHL game this evening. Teubert probably feels pretty good about the start to this season having established himself as a top four defender for the Barons, and providing two goals, two assists, and a +3 rating in nine AHL games. On the downside, Teubert leads the Barons with nine minor penalties, all of which led to opposition power plays; Alex Plante is second on the club, and only has five.
- One of the reasons for Edmonton's improved standing this year is their improvement on the power play. Last season, the Oilers generated 41.8 shots per sixty minutes of five-on-four ice time, which was near the bottom of the league. So far this season the Oilers are up to 48.6, which is a big improvement.
- But... with Taylor Hall on the ice, the Oilers are generating just 34.9 shots per sixty minutes of five-on-four ice time; with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it's 38.5; and with Jordan Eberle, 41.0. Linus Omark stands at 62.5, but Omark hasn't had any luck with the percentages on the power play either: his on-ice shooting percentage is a very clean 0.0%. That compares to 22.2% for Hall, 21.9% for Nugent-Hopkins, and 20.6% for Eberle, all of which would have led the league last season.
- The Oilers have still only received goals from six forwards this season (Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth, and Ryan Jones). The only other team still waiting for a seventh forward to score is the New York Islanders.