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Oilers v. Blues - Proverbs 7:21-23

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With sweet nothings the goaltender led them astray;
he seduced them with stories of playoff glory.
They chased after him,
like an ox to the slaughter.
Like rabbits they pursued the tempting carrot,
and were caught in a snare.
They were like birds flying into a window,
oblivious to the very thing that would cost them their lives.

Edmonton Oilers (23-40-10) @ St. Louis Blues (32-32-9)

Scottrade Center, 6:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Home Team Scouting Report:

The St. Louis Blues are in a very interesting position. With 73 points they currently sit 23rd in the overall standings, just five points behind Carolina in 19th. What's interesting is that, because of the trade that sent Erik Johnson to Colorado, they lose their first round pick this season if they finish 20th or better, and I've got to think that it's in their best interests not to see that happen. The Blues have underachieved this season, largely because of poor goaltending - something that they will no doubt strive to improve in the off-season - and a long string of injuries to some of their most important players. Despite these injuries, they've been pretty good territorially, posting a positive Corsi rating as a team with the score tied. The team no doubt projects to be better next season, and would likely be loath to give up the 11th or 12th pick in this year's draft. So there you go, two reasons to tank!

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (23-40-10):

Jones - Cogliano - Eberle
Omark - Reddox - Paajarvi
Jacques - Fraser - Hartikainen

MacIntyre - O'Marra - VandeVelde

Smid - Gilbert
Vandermeer - Petry
Peckham - Strudwick

Khabibulin

St. Louis Blues (32-32-9)

McDonald - Backes - D'Agostini
McRae - Oshie - Stewart
Porter - Cracknell - Crombeen
Janssen - Hensick - Reaves

Colaiacovo - Pietrangelo
Nikitin - Polak
Cole - Shattenkirk

Halak

By the Numbers:

  • In previous seasons, Roman Polak has been taking on tough competition as well as handling the most difficult zone-start ratio, a practice that has continued so far this year: Polak has only played in 46 games, but 57.9% of his end-zone starts have been in the defensive zone, the most difficult ratio on the club, and ranks on the top four (okay, he's fourth) in all three quality of competition metrics as well. Polak will be a restricted free agent this summer, and would be a great target for a team that projects to be pretty good and could use a shut-down defender. With T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund also in need of new deals, the old dual offer sheet concept may well come in handy.
  • With his season officially over, it's extremely likely that Ales Hemsky's 2.88 5v5 points per sixty minutes will end up in the top ten in the NHL. He's currently sitting seventh. (And looking at that list, is it wrong to think Sidney Crosby should win the Hart Trophy even though he only played half a season?)
  • The St. Louis Blues have outshot their opponents 43 times so far this season and have won 14 of those games (33%); they've been outshot by their opponents 29 times, and have won 18 of those games (62%).
  • The Blues and Oilers have both accumulated a lot of penalty minutes this season. The Oilers have totaled 1,089 penalty minutes, the third-highest number in the league. The Blues are fourth with 1,058.
  • For those who don't know, David Staples is tracking both errors and individual scoring chances this season (based on his own count, not that of Dennis King, which we usually reference here). Of interest: Tom Gilbert has more errors than any other Oiler with 36, and has allowed more scoring chances against than any other Oiler, but he's also got the top individual scoring chance +/- among Oiler defensemen. The moral of the story for me? Play enough hockey, and there are going to be plays where you look bad.