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Oilers v. Penguins - Melody of McGuire 3:1-4

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One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my Crosby.
I wanted him, but he was concussed.

I said to myself, "TSN shouldn't even show the Penguins!

Without Crosby, they suck!"
But I couldn't live without him, so I went searching.
Policemen stopped me while I was peering in windows,
and I asked them, "Have you seen the one I love?"
El-Ka-BONG! They knocked over the head with batons,
and then I saw him! The one I love!
I wrapped my arms around his strong powerful legs,
and we were suddenly transported to the ice.

He skated just for me in the place of our first love.

Edmonton Oilers (23-37-9) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (39-22-8)

CONSOL Energy Center, 1:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet Edmonton

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

Sidney Crosby played his last game on January 5th. Evgeni Malkin has played just once since a win over Detroit on January 18th. Injuries have hurt a lot of teams this year, but losing those two has had a huge impact on the Penugins. In the twenty-one games they've played without either Crosby or Malkin, the Penguins are 4-8-9 in regulation (nine regulation ties!) with a goal differential of -15. In other words, they're a lottery team. Thankfully for them, with those two players in the lineup, they're a great team, and that gave them enough of a bump in the standings that the playoffs aren't in doubt. But if Crosby doesn't make it back (Malkin is done for the year), getting the Penguins in the first round would be a very good draw indeed.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (23-37-9):

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

Jacques - Fraser - MacIntyre

Smid - Gilbert
Vandermeer - Petry
Strudwick - Foster

Khabibulin

Pittsburgh Penguins (39-22-8)

Kunitz - Staal - Kennedy
Neal - Letestu - Kovalev
Cooke - Jeffrey - Dupuis
Rupp - Talbot - Adams

Martin - Michalek
Niskanen - Letang
Engelland - Lovejoy

Fleury

By the Numbers:

  • With Crosby and Malkin out of the lineup, Pittsburgh's top-scoring forward is now newly-acquired James Neal who has 41 points in 67 games. Unfortunately, he's only got two points in the eight games he's played with the Penguins.
  • That's still five points ahead of Edmonton's top remaining scorer, Jordan Eberle, who's got 36 points in 56 games. There have been a lot of disappointing things this seasons, but the play of young Eberle is not among them.
  • I know that Alex Plante looked bad in his brief call-up, but that makes his Corsi numbers that much funnier. Plante is now the team leader by a wide margin in both Corsi (+13.01/60) and RelCorsi (+17.4/60), which should serve as a reminder that the Corsi metrics don't tell you anything more than where the puck is spending most of its time when a given player is on the ice. The smaller the sample, the greater the liklihood that it's not telling you much about how an individual player is performing. Or maybe Plante was just a victim of the percentages: his PDO of 88.8 is the worst on the team.
  • Alex Plante was also getting some of the tough zone starts in his brief stay in Edmonton with 63.0% on his end-zone starts in the defensive zone. Of course, when you look at the raw numbers, it doesn't look so bad: 10 offensive zone faceoffs and 17 defensive zone faceoffs. Not cushy, but this is another one of those context metrics that needs some reps before it gets useful.
  • One thing that hasn't fallen on hard times is Pittsburgh's penalty killing; the Penguins are leading the league right now with a PK efficiency of 86.7%, and are tied for second in short-handed goals with 10. On the downside, they've had a lot of practice; the Penguins are tied for the league lead in times shorthanded with 275.