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Oilers v. Ducks - Leviticus 5:7-10

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But if you cannot make up enough ground to get into the playoffs, you may bring Yahweh a victory over the Ducks and a maiming as the penalty for your sin. The victory will serve as a sin offering, and the maiming as a praise offering presented to Yahweh and your fans. You must first take an insurmountable lead, breaking their spirits but not their necks, so that your sin offering is not in doubt and will be acceptable to your God. You will present this to your fans who will cheer loudly in the Temple of your God, and he will then forgive you. This is an offering for sin. Then you must prepare the second offering, a praise offering to Yahweh. With the game now in hand, identify a man who was wronged you (say, by taking out the knee of your captain), and target him mercilessly for the rest of the game. This is an offering of praise. Through this process you will be purified of your sins; both God and your fans will forgive you for what has been a deplorable season.

Anaheim Ducks (31-21-4) @ Edmonton Oilers (16-31-8)

Rexall Place, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Ducks are hanging in the Western Conference playoff race, despite a defense that includes two raw rookies and Lubomir Visnovsky on the shut-down pairing. It's not a plan that I would have felt particularly comfortable with heading into the season, but parts of it have worked out quite well. Visnovsky has played well enough to garner Norris consideration from at least one man who's opinion is worthy of respect (most of the time), and Cam Fowler has adjusted to the NHL quicker than could be reasonably expected. That said, even with the recent addition of Francois Beauchemin, the Ducks are very thin on the blueline, and it's probably the biggest reason that they're getting outshot to the tune of six shots per game. I don't know that there will be many top four defenders available at the deadline (Chris Phillips, who has already scored a SCF goal for the Ducks, but other than that, the pickings are pretty slim), but the Ducks sure could use one more.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (16-31-8):

Reddox - Penner - Hemsky
Hall - Cogliano - Eberle
Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark
Jacques - Fraser - Jones

Peckham - Gilbert

Smid - Petry
Vandermeer - Foster


Anaheim Ducks (31-21-4)

Ryan - Getzlaf - Perry
Blake - Koivu - Selanne
McMillan - Lapierre - Sexton
Lilja - Marchant - Parros

Visnovsky - Lydman
Fowler - Beauchemin
Sbisa - Sutton


By the Numbers:

  • The Ducks are really relying on their top line at even strength by limiting the amount of time they spend on special teams. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan are second, fifth, and sixth respectively in EV TOI per game so far this season, but only 45th, 53rd and 146th in PP TOI per game, and none of them play a significant role on the PK.
  • With an assist against the Senators, Kurtis Foster now has 100 for his career, which amounts to about one assist for every three games played for the big defender. This season, Foster's ratio of games played to assists has been more like five to one. The offense has been particularly lacking on the power play. After scoring 23 power play assists in 71 games with the Lightning a year ago, Foster only has five so far this season with the Oilers.
  • Despite the disappointing numbers, Foster actually leads the Oilers in power play points with eight, good enough to tie for 156th in the NHL. The Ducks are slightly above the league average (5.34) with six players who have more points on the power play than the top-scoring Oiler.
  • Since the lockout, no team has ever made the playoffs while being outshot by 4.5 shots per game or more. So far this season, the Ducks (and Wild, for that matter) have been outshot by 6.0 shots per game. There are a lot of teams vying for playoff positions in the Western Conference, and although the Ducks have a spot now, I wouldn't be betting on them to hold it.
  • I mentioned yesterday that the Senators had the worst power play opportunity differential in the NHL. After yesterday's game with the Oilers, they've now moved up to 28th. One of the teams they passed is Anaheim, who come into today's game with a -27 differential (i.e. they've been shorthanded 27 more times than they've been on the power play). The Oilers sit 18th in the league at -7, a very poor differential when you consider that teams tend to draw more penalties when trailing.