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Oilers v. Avalanche - Isaiah 16:4b-5

When this self-destructive season is finally over,
and when our enemies stop pounding,
God will establish another young man as savior,
the second in as many years.
He will arrive as a vessel of God's mercy,
and lead the march toward truly competitive hockey.
He will make nothing but right decisions,
and will give happiness to all those who watch him.

Edmonton Oilers (25-45-11) @ Colorado Avalanche (28-44-8)

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

More analysis after the jump...

Home Team Scouting Report:

It saddens me to no end that this game doesn't have last place on the line because that just would've been interesting. Both organizations obviously hoping to lose and players trying to deny it. Whichever team winning no doubt suspicious that the other didn't put in their best effort. Maybe a couple more too-many-men penalties than usual. It could have been great, but sadly the Avalanche were just too good early in the year. And the weird thing is, they really were a much better team earlier in the year. Now, in this kind of analysis you need to draw the line somewhere, and so I'll draw it on January 21st, the date that Peter Forsberg announced his intention to make a comeback. Since that date, the Avalanche have had a Corsi percentage of 42.4% with the score tied (+420 -571), which is really, really terrible. Prior to that date their Corsi percentage with the score tied was still bad, but not so bad that you'd confuse them for an AHL team (46.9% or +737 -833). I don't know if it was the distraction of Peter Forsberg, the mounting injuries, or the realization that the team was falling out of the playoff race, but something happened to this team halfway through the year that turned them from garden-variety bad into right and truly terrible in terms of maintaining territory at evens.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (25-45-11):

Eberle - VandeVelde - Hartikainen
Paajarvi - Cogliano - Omark
Jacques - Brule - Reddox

Strudwick - O'Marra - MacIntyre

Smid - Chorney
Vandermeer - Petry
Peckham - Foster


Colorado Avalanche (28-44-8)

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

Holos - Wilson
O'Byrne - Belle
Macias - Koci


By the Numbers:

  • The Colorado Avalanche are icing one of the worst groups of defensemen I have ever seen. They are quite possibly worse than the "Sebastien Bisaillon is an Oiler" club in 2006-07, although that might be pushing it. Excluding Koci (since he's about as good at hockey as Steve MacIntyre), they've got a total of 406 games of NHL experience.
  • One of the beneficiaries of the injuries on defense is Shawn Belle, who has already played three games for the Avalanche since being traded to the organization at the deadline (0-0-0 with 0 shots, a single minor penalty, and an even rating). I know he wasn't around long, but it still brings a smile to my face to see him getting a shot in the NHL.
  • Liam Reddox has just 83 shots so far this season and needs one more to tie and two more to beat Craig Adams' record of 84 shots by a forward in a single season without a goal. Tom Renney had better double-shift this guy until he gets his two shots, and then he'd better staple the man to the bench because I have no faith in either Brian Elliott or Peter Budaj.
  • Excluding the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, the Oilers will need to score six goals in today's game in order to avoid having the lowest total in franchise history (the previous record was 195 set in 2006-07), and at least four goals to avoid having the lowest total by any team since the lockout (the 2007-08 Columbus Blue Jackets had 193).
  • The Colorado Avalanche have allowed 285 goals so far this year, the most since the 2006-07 season when three teams allowed more. The Capitals (286) and Bruins (289) are well within reach, but the Flyers (303) are probably safe, although with Budaj and Elliott, you never know, and I certainly wouldn't complain if the Oilers put up 18.