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Oilers v. Red Wings - Ruth 2:11-12

And so even the fans of opposing teams would look at the Oilers and say, "I have seen all that you've been through since the run to the Stanley Cup Finals, how you've been compelled to cheer on years of incompetence, and how your team, once a storied franchise, is now much worse than at any time in its history. May it be that Yahweh, the God of Edmonton, would see your devotion and repay you for the hardship you've endured. We all see the potential, how your team will one day be blessed by God. So tonight, take refuge in another first overall pick and the future as when you are met with God's Wings.

Edmonton Oilers (23-37-8) @ Detroit Red Wings (39-20-8)

Joe Louis Arena, 5:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

I watched the Red Wings' last game against the Kings, and my oh my, the Wings looked fantastic in the first period. Completely dominant, to the point that the Kings rarely had the puck and even more rarely in the offensive zone. But, funny thing, as the game moved into the third period the Red Wings ended up on the wrong side of the score and they started having trouble establishing possession in the offensive zone. IN the end, the Wings lost a game that they probably should've won. The Oilers, however, are only in the same league as Los Angeles because relegation doesn't exist in North American sports. I expect that if the Wings are off their game tonight, it'll look a lot like the first period did against the Kings. If they're on their game... what's the most lopsided loss in history? (...) Looks like a 15-0 win by the Wings over the Rangers in 1944. Probably won't be that bad.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (23-37-8):

Paajarvi - Horcoff - Eberle
Giroux - Cogliano - Jones
Omark - Brule - Reddox

Jacques - Fraser - MacIntyre

Smid - Gilbert
Vandermeer - Petry
Strudwick - Foster


Detroit Red Wings (39-20-8)

Franzen - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Filppula - Zetterberg - Bertuzzi
Hudler - Modano - Cleary
Abdelkader - Helm - Miller

Lidstrom - Stuart
Ericsson - Kronwall
Kindl - Salei


By the Numbers:

  • Last season, the Edmonton Oilers set a new record for losses in regulation with 47, eclipsing the previous record of 46, which was set by the WHA Oilers in 1975-76 and matched by the NHL Oilers in 1992-93. With 37 regulation losses already in the books, the Oilers will need to make it to overtime or win in regulation in at least five of their last fourteen games to avoid tying last year's mark.
  • Even strength scoring matters, and the Detroit Red Wings are good at it. The Wings are one of five teams with two of the top twenty even strength goal-scorers since the lockout. It certainly doesn't hurt that Henrik Zetterberg (T-12th) and Pavel Datsuyk (20th) are both great two-way players.
  • This season, the Red Wings have a different leader in even strength goal-scoring. Maybe it's because I haven't been following the Wings closely enough, but I was very surprised to see Danny Cleary at the top of that list (with 19). It's amazing how that guy has gotten his career in order after so many years wandering in the wilderness.
  • With injuries and trades reducing the Oilers' lineup of most of its top forwards, it's now a virtual guarantee that the Oilers will set a new low for their highest point-getter, excluding the strike-shortened 1994-95 season... although Doug Weight's 40 points that year make things a lot closer than they should be.
  • Sam Gagner is now done for the year, which means his -17 rating is on the books for good. Add that to his previous seasons, and Gagner now has the 7th worst cumulative +/- in Oilers' history (-47). But all is not lost. Some of the guys behind him have had solid NHL careers: Doug Weight (-48), Igor Kravchuk (-48), Scott Thornton (-54), Jason Arnott (-56), Luke Richardson (-64), and Kelly Buchberger (-99).


Will the Oilers be able to make it to overtime or win in regulation in at least five of their last fourteen games?

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