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Oilers v. Kings - Hebrews 6:13-20

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There was once a promise given to Pocklington, and since there was no one greater to swear by, God swore by his own name saying, "By my own name I swear to bless you beyond what you deserve, and give you the greatest player to ever play the game; he will bring you Stanley Cups and much joy, but you will nevertheless forsake him." So Pocklington waited and after a decade the promise was fulfilled!

So you can see that God was faithful to his oath. Now when people take an oath, they tend to swear by something greater than themselves so that they're forced to stick to what they said. God also, in swearing an oath on his own name, made sure that those who had received it could be sure that he would never change his mind. So, as you can see, God gave Pocklington a promise and then made it certain by swearing an oath. Since it is impossible for God to lie, we too can have great confidence in the promises that God has made to us, that we will soon be redeemed and win the Stanley Cup again. This hope is an anchor for our souls in these troubled times, but didn't Christ also suffer? Of course! And so his suffering was a foreshadowing of things to come for these Oilers just as his glorification as high priest in heaven is a foreshadowing of the Oilers' glorification as keepers of the Cup.

Los Angeles Kings (27-22-2) @ Edmonton Oilers (15-26-8)

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

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Kings went into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak, and it finally looked like things had begun to turn around for the team with the great goal differential but brutal record. Alas, they lost to the Minnesota Wild last night (by one, natch) and now come to Edmonton for the second of back-to-back games. With the short turn-around, the return of Ales Hemsky, and the Oilers' improved play at even strength over the last several weeks, this is a pretty winnable game for the home side. If the Oilers do win, I'll think back to all those years in the early 90s when every point mattered and the Oilers would drop a game here or there to the last place team in the Conference... you know things are bad when you're pining for the angst that comes with mediocrity.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (14-25-7):

Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
Penner - Cogliano - Jones
Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark

Jacques - Fraser - Reddox

Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Vandermeer - Foster

Khabibulin

Los Angeles Kings (27-22-2)

Loktionov - Kopitar - Brown
Smyth - Stoll - Williams
Clifford - Lewis - Simmonds
Richardson - Handzus - Ponikarovsky

Mitchell - Doughty
Johnson - Scuderi
Martinez - Greene

Quick

By the Numbers:

  • The Oilers have lost seven games in the shoot-out so far this season, more than any other team in the NHL. If they were in the playoff race, that would be a very frustrating statistic, but this team being what it is, that 1-7 shoot-out record may well be what keeps them at or near the bottom of the league. Speaking of, yesterday was a pretty good day on that front with the Islanders, Devils, and Maple Leafs all winning. The only team in this race that lost was the Senators who now have the worst goal differential in the league at -53 (the Oilers are next at -46).
  • Since joining the league in 2006-07, there are only sixteen players who have amassed more points than Anze Kopitar. This season, Kopitar is having his best year ever by +/- as well, putting up +16 total. Kopitar is probably one of the more underrated (though not underpaid) star players in the league.
  • In the three full seasons that Ryan Smyth has been away from Edmonton, he's scored 182 points in 250 games, which is the 78th highest total in the league over that period. I know that his contract is a little much, but trading away a top line winger for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and a pick... well, I still have a hard time believing that it was a good choice, especially once you consider the attachment the man had to the community.
  • Tom Gilbert was the worst +/- on the club at -13. He's also one of eight players on the team with an on-ice EV save percentage below .900 (his is .879). The others are Taylor Hall (.899), Jason Strudwick (.891), Dustin Penner (.891), Ales Hemsky (.887), Sam Gagner (.875), Linus Omark (.860), and Taylor Chorney (.829). Among those players, Ales Hemsky leads the group with a +3 rating. The next highest is Chorney's -3 (in 6 games) and Omark's -7 (in 20). My conclusion? Ales Hemsky is pretty good, and I sure am glad to see he's back in the lineup.
  • The Kings are 1/28 over their last ten games on the power play. The Oilers' last-place penalty killing unit, which has allowed at least one goal in the last six games, may be just what the doctor ordered... particularly with Nikolai Khabibulin in goal - his .810 PK save percentage is second worst among goalies who have seen at least 100 shots (Peter Budaj is in last for those who were curious).