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Oilers v. Avalanche - Luke 11:37-41

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As Jesus was speaking, some fans of the Avalanche invited him over to watch the game. So Jesus came in and took his place on the couch. After the first period was over, his hosts were amazed when Jesus declared that the Avalanche had played poorly last season. So he said to them, "You Avalanche fans are so careful to count up goals and wins, but if you look a bit deeper, you'll see that the team was filthy! They were getting by with a wonderful goaltender and a lot of luck! Fools! Didn't God create both the results and the process? So make sure that the process is sound, otherwise your success will be fleeting and you will be thrown down into the pit."

Edmonton Oilers (19-33-8) @ Colorado Avalanche (26-27-7)

Pepsi Center, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Colorado Avalanche are who we thought they were. Last season was a magical ride that I'm sure was mostly enjoyable for both the players and the fans, but it was never going to last, especially since management decided to run the team on the cheap. The Avalanche are now firmly in lottery territory, they've traded last year's playoff goaltender for a potential liability, they've moved a young thirty-goal scorer along, and there's no sign that an infusion of cash is coming. But there have been some positive strides too. Matt Duchene is having a very good sophomore season, the acquisition of Erik Johnson gives them (at least in theory) a future stud on the blueline, John-Michael Liles has been much better than I thought possible, and the team's overall possession metrics suggest some improvement at even strength compared to last year. But that's just not much consolation for a fanbase who believed their mirage was real.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (19-33-8):

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

Jacques - Reddox - Jones

Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Strudwick
Vandermeer - Foster


Colorado Avalanche (26-27-7)

Stoa - Stastny - Jones
Yip - Duchene - Hejduk
Winnik - McClement - Porter
McLeod - O'Reilly - Dupuis

O'Byrne - Liles
Johnson - Wilson
Holos - Hunwick


By the Numbers:

  • The Colorado Avalanche are dressing seven players who haven't played in the minors sometime in the last three seasons: John-Michael Liles, Erik Johnson, Paul Stastny, David Jones, Milan Hejduk, Jay McClement, and Cody McLeod. This is a very young, and very inexperienced team.
  • The Avalanche have a regulation record of 4-15-6 since Christmas. The Oilers are 7-18-2. These two teams are bad. Very, very bad.
  • Among rookies and sophomores, Matt Duchene has slipped to second in the points race, five points behind last year's first overall pick, John Tavares who leads with 52. Taylor Hall sits in fifth on that list with 38 points, and Jordan Eberle is thirteenth with 31.
  • Matt Duchene has marginally increased his shot count so far this season, from 2.22 in 2009-10 to 2.47 in 2010-11, although a good portion of that increase has come by way of increased ice time.
  • Devan Dubnyk's save percentage has come back substantially over the last month, and his EV save percentage on the season is now slightly below average at .915. In his NHL career, Dubnyk has now faced close to 1,000 EV shots (989) and has a save percentage of .909. Dubnyk is probably worth keeping around as a backup next season, but I'm not particularly confident in his ability to suddenly become a capable NHL starter.