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Oilers v. Avalanche - John 4:39-42

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Many Edmontonians believed in Smyth because of the reports from others that he played with tremendous effort, and was scoring many goals. When they came out to see him for themselves, they saw him flipping pucks over the glass to children, and radiating joy for the game, and so they begged him to stay in the city, even if those in charge refused to pay him the going rate. So he stayed for two more years at a lower price, long enough for him to know that he might be part of a winning team, but short enough for him not to become a burden. Then all the people cried out, "Now we believe, not just because of how he handles himself on the ice, but because of the sacrifices he has made to stay with us! Now we know that he is indeed the heart and soul of this team!"

Colorado Avalanche (13-15-1) @ Edmonton Oilers (13-12-3)

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: TSN

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

After several years of being outshot by their opponents, the Colorado Avalanche have turned the tables in a big way this season. The Avalanche are seventh in the NHL in shot differential per game at +3.5, and the six teams ahead of them are (in my opinion) six of the very best teams in the NHL (Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Chicago, St. Louis, and Vancouver). Granted, in Colorado's case, a lot of that outshooting is because they've spent so much time playing from behind, but this certainly isn't the team that relied oh-so-heavily on goaltending for success, which is a good thing, because if they were, that .899 save percentage from starter Semyon Varlamov would have them deep into the lottery.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (13-12-3):

Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
Gagner - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Eager - Belanger - Jones
Paajarvi - Lander - Hordichuk

Smid - Gilbert
Whitney - Petry
Peckham - Teubert


Colorado Avalanche (13-15-1):

Landeskog - O'Reilly - Hejduk
Duchene - Galiardi - Yip
Winnik - McClement - Kobasew
McLeod - Hunwick - Jones

Quincey - O'Brien
Hejda - O'Byrne
Elliott - Johnson


By the Numbers:

  • Theo Peckham and Andy Sutton are both tied for seventh in the NHL with 15 minor penalties each. That's a bad thing for both of them, but it's especially impressive (or depressing) in Sutton's case because he's only played 16 games. That's enough to make him the league leader in minor penalties per game (min. 10 games).
  • With Andy Sutton getting suspended, Colten Teubert is going to be back in the lineup. So far, coach Tom Renney has given him the Chorney treatment, wherein he plays his rookie season in a decidedly unsheltered environment. Among Oiler defenders, no one has a tougher end-zone start percentage than Teubert, who has taken 58.7% of his end-zone draws in the defensive zone.
  • Jordan Eberle actually leads the entire league in points per sixty minutes of five-on-five ice time (3.49/60). And yeah, no doubt a part of that is coming from good luck, but a bigger part is coming from him being a darn good player at twenty-one.
  • Eric Belanger and Ben Eager both scored their first goals of the season in the Oilers' last game, which leaves poor Magnus Paajarvi alone atop the list of "forwards with the most time on ice without a goal". Paajarvi has now played 290 minutes without scoring.
  • Colorado's penalty killing has been outstanding so far this season. They've allowed just 38.5 shots against per sixty minutes of five-on-four ice time, which is good enough for second in the NHL. That success is being masked by an 80.2% penalty killing percentage, which puts the Avalanche in 23rd. The culprit is (as you might expect) goaltending. Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have combined for a PK save percentage of just .829, which is about forty points below average.