Open your doors, people of St. Louis,
so that your guests may devour your goaltender!
It is our pleasure to see you wail, dearest Conks,
for your game has abandoned you again!
Your glove has been eaten by moths;
your butterfly has been ripped in two.
Now listen to all your fans in Edmonton!
"Make him play the puck behind the net!"
Can't you hear them cheering!
Edmonton Oilers (15-27-8) @)
Scottrade Center, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
I thought that the St. Louis Blues would be a playoff team this year, but so far their season has been derailed somewhat by injuries but even moreso by poor goaltending. At even strength, the Blues have been about as good as I was expecting, earning 51.9% of Fenwick events with the score tied in their first 45 games, which is good enough for 9th in the NHL. Where they haven't been as good as I was expecting is in on the power play (their 14.4% success rate is 26th in the league) and in goal. I thought that Jaroslav Halak and Ty Conklin would give the Blues one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL, but as it turns out, they've been one of the worst. Both goalies have been below average at even strength, and Conklin in particular has just struggled in general (second to last in EV Sv%, last in PK Sv%, and last in overall Sv% among goalies with at least ten starts). Coming out of the summer, it looked like goaltending was a position that the Blues had improved; as it turns out, not so much.
Edmonton Oilers (15-27-8):
Jones - Horcoff - Hemsky
Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark
Hall - Cogliano - Eberle
MacIntyre - Fraser - Reddox
Peckham - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Vandermeer - Foster
St. Louis Blues (22-20-7)
McDonald - Backes - Boyes
Steen - Berglund - Oshie
Sobotka - McClement - D'Agostini
Winchester - Crombeen - Janssen
Pietrangelo - Jackman
Brewer - Johnson
Nikitin - Polak
By the Numbers:
- Dustin Penner will miss his first game of the season due to illness, and in fact, it's the first game he's missed due to injury or illness in his NHL career after 427 consecutive starts (although there were some healthy scratches mixed in from both Randy Carlyle and Craig MacTavish).
- Steve MacIntyre will draw into the lineup for the fifteenth time this season, and will likely try to convince Cam Janssen who - leads the Blues with eight fights on the season - to engage. I kind of doubt it will happen though. Janssen's record (according to the fine folks at hockeyfights) is a Stortiniesque 1-6-1 (Stortini was actually 1-4-3 for what it's worth), so I don't imagine he'll be all that keen to fight MacIntyre (who has fought for times this year against super-heavyweights Raitis Ivanans, Derek Boogaard (twice) and Colton Orr).
- Alex Steen is among the league leaders in shots this season with 158, which is good enough to put him in 29th overall in the NHL at the moment, and puts him on pace for a new career high. The Oilers' leader is Taylor Hall whose 141 shots put him in a tie for 47th.
- The Blues have a tendency to play their top forwards a lot, with three forwards in the NHL's top thirty in terms of time on ice per game (eight teams have at least two forwards in the top thirty). Alex Steen is 19th with 20:10 per game, David Backes is 24th with 19:58 per game, and Andy McDonald is 26th with 19:56 per game.
- Ladislav Smid will be playing in his 300th career NHL game tonight, which an awful lot for a player who has just turned twenty-five. Smid is also one of six players on the roster that was taken in the top ten in his draft year.