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Oilers v. Wild - Revelation 22:8-11 (A Classic)

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I, Derek, am the one who heard and saw these wondrous things. When I heard and saw all that Penner had said and done, I fell down to worship at his gigantic feet for it was because of him that I had seen these wondrous things. But then he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and the rest of the Oilogsophere, and of course my teammates. Worship God!" And then he said to me, "Don't hold back with the words of prophecy that have been given to you; for the time for God to grant me dominance on the ice is near. Indeed, Brodziak will continue to skate in apostasy and Clutterbuck will win applause for his filth but the righteous who stand and cheer for my righteous moves and the holy who say, "Holy Mother!" when I reek of awesomeness will soon have victory."

Edmonton Oilers (19-32-8) @ Minnesota Wild (31-22-6)

Xcel Energy Center, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

When I wrote about the Wild earlier today, I made no bones about the fact that the team isn't very good. As I said then, no team has made the playoffs post-lockout with a shot differential worse than -4.5 per game. The Wild are currently resting at -5.7 shots per game, good for 30th in the 30-team NHL, just behind the Oilers. They've outshot their opponents seven times this year, also 30th in the NHL. The Oilers are again 29th, but have more than doubled Minnesota's total, outshooting their opponents fifteen times. But Niklas Backstrom's absolutely ridiculous .942 EV save percentage has helped the Wild into the playoff hunt. Unbelievably, that's only second in the NHL this year (thanks Tim Thomas), but if he can maintain it until the end of the year, it will be the best EV save percentage (min. 1,000 shots against) since Dominik Hasek's .947 over 1,795 regular season and playoff shots in 1998-99. In other words, that puppy is probably coming down.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (19-32-8):

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

Jacques - Reddox - Jones

Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Chorney
Vandermeer - Foster

Khabibulin

Minnesota Wild (31-22-6)

Bouchard - Brodziak - Havlat
Brunette - Cullen - Miettinen
Clutterbuck - Madden - Nystrom
Kobasew - Almond - Spurgeon

Zanon - Zidlicky
Schultz - Burns
Barker - Stoner

Backstrom

By the Numbers:

  • Because the Wild are constantly being outplayed, there are only three forwards on the team with more offensive than defensive zone starts: Antti Miettinen, Andrew Brunette, and Mikko Koivu. I've got to say, that's a crazy way to use a tremendous defensive player like Koivu.
  • One of the players getting absolutely buried with defensive assignments is former Oiler Kyle Brodziak. He has the fourth toughest end-zone start ratio on the team with only 38.3% of his starts in the offensive zone. He'd be expected to have a Zone Finish of 46.5% given that hill to climb: it's actually 47.7%. Brodziak has also managed a Corsi of -5.92 per 60 minutes of EV ice time, which is just a hair behind Koivu. Quality of competition? Brodziak finishes in the top nine in each of the three iterations. To top it off, he's 50% on the draw at even strength too. It's a sad thing that the Edmonton Oilers need a top nine center to take on defensive minutes.
  • Minnesota has had a very good power play so far this season. The unit has been clicking along with a power play efficiency of 20.5%, good enough for sixth in the NHL. After scoring three power play goals in their last game the Oilers are up to 12.8%, which is still good enough for dead last.
  • One of the helpful things about having three different measures for Quality of Competition (+/-, Corsi, and Rel. Corsi) is that each one acts as a check on the others. For the Oilers, there are only three forwards who rank in the top six in each category: Shawn Horcoff, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle. My goodness, those kids are good.
  • For the defense, there's just one player who's in the top four in all three quality of competition categories: Tom Gilbert. I understand that the guy makes mistakes, and that those mistakes can be glaring because of his reliance on his stick rather than bowling guys over, but the man is a darn good defenseman.