King Jarome was now getting very old, and no matter which linemates they played with him, he was too slow to keep up with the play. So the fans cried out, "Let's play him with a talented rookie! We'll let a young man with fresh legs battle for pucks along the boards, and take care of our old soldier on the backcheck." So the people looked high and low, but still they couldn't find a talented rookie in the entire organization, and so they settled on a young Swede named Backlund. It turned out that the young man was wonderful! He took care of Jarome on the backcheck, he worked hard in the corners, and he always deferred to him when an opportunity came. Even still, the two of them did not speak to one another in the dressing room, an elaborate ruse to make the media feel like their was a terrible rift between them.
Edmonton Oilers (25-43-11) @ Calgary Flames (40-29-11)
Pengrowth Saddledome, 7:30 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Home Team Scouting Report:
The Calgary Flames are hanging on by their fingernails at the moment with a magic number that sits at two (points). If the Flames lose in regulation, they're done. If the Ducks and Hawks both win a game, it doesn't matter what the Flames do, they're done. That they're this close is amazing in and of itself considering where the team was at Christmas. On Christmas Day, the Flames had a record of 15-18-3 and sat 14th in the Western Conference. So what's caused the turnaround? Here's what the club has done at EV with the score tied both before and after Christmas:
As you can see, not much has changed in terms of possession. The Flames have been consistently above average (albeit slightly) all season long. The big difference is instead with the team's shooting percentage, right and truly terrible before Christmas, and substantially above average after Christmas. The Flames have seen their shooting percentage increase two-fold in these situations, which is one of the main reasons the Flames have come back up the standings.
Edmonton Oilers (25-43-11):
Eberle - VandeVelde - Hartikainen
Paajarvi - Cogliano - Omark
Jacques - Brule - Reddox
Strudwick - O'Marra - MacIntyre
Smid - Chorney
Vandermeer - Petry
Peckham - Foster
Calgary Flames (40-29-11)
Tanguay - Backlund - Iginla
Glencross - Langkow - Kostopoulos
Bourque - Jokinen - Jackman
Bouma - Stajan - Nemisz
Regehr - Bouwmeester
Giordano - Carson
Babchuk - Sarich
By the Numbers:
- The last night's win against Vancouver, the Edmonton Oilers now have five distinct winning streaks on the season: one four-gamer, two three-gamers, one two-gamer and the current streak, which if the Oilers win out, will be their longest of the season. By contrast, the Oilers have eleven distinct losing streaks on the season: four two-gamers, one three-gamer, one four-gamer, two five-gamers, one six-gamer, one seven-gamer, and the eleven-gamer that they'd been working on until Saturday's game against the Canucks.
- Tom Gilbert's 332-game ironman streak came to an end when he had to sit out last night's game because of a back injury. Andrew Cogliano is now the active leader with an ironman streak of 325 games.
- Liam Reddox managed just one shot last night against the Canucks, which leaves him three shy of Craig Adams' record for most shots without a goal by a forward in a single season with just three games to go. I believe!
- The Oilers' magic number for 30th overall is currently two (points), and the only other team that can still finish below them is the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams play one another on the last game of the year. Man, would it ever be grand to have 30th spot still in doubt for that game. It would really drive home just how broken the current system is. Tanking sucks, and the system needs to be fixed.
- Here's what Gabe Desjardins had to say about Jarome Iginla before the season: "In this case, his 3-2-1 average projection is a vast overestimate of his likely performance." The 3-2-1 method had Iginla scoring 36-45-81 on 281 shots in 82 games. His actual numbers so far are 39-42-81 on 277 shots in 80 games. I point this out for two reasons: first because that projection is scary close to his actual performance, and second because it's always good to note when a guy that's regarded as a star surpasses expectations (in the poll, only 27% of people had Iginla scoring 80 points or more, and about one fifth of those were crazies who projected him to score 110 points or more).