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Oilers v. Devils - Ephesians 4:25-27

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We must stop lying to ourselves. We must tell one another the truth because we are all part of the same body, and thus care for another: this team is terrible. But don't sin by letting that anger you. When the sun goes down, let go of any anger and resentment that you may have, because those feelings are a foothold for others, and before you know it, you're suddenly a fan of the Bruins, Blackhawks, or Devils.

New Jersey Devils (23-17-2) @ Edmonton Oilers (16-22-3)

Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: TSN

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

When I was writing my season preview I picked the New Jersey Devils to improve their goal differential by more than any other team in the league, from -35 in 2010-11 to +20 this season. And while the Devils have improved, the change hasn't been quite that dramatic what with the club sitting at -6 about halfway through the season. The biggest reason for this is goaltending. I know that Martin Brodeur is an oldster, and that betting on oldster goalies is foolish, but I really didn't think he'd step into the elevator shaft quite this badly. Brodeur's .891 save percentage is awful, the fourth-worst of any goalie with at least 20 appearances (ahead of Dwayne Roloson, Steve Mason, and Eleventy-Billion Bryzgalov). Those atrocious numbers haven't stopped some from telling us that Brodeur's play "is keeping the Devils in playoff contention", but they have held the team back from a spot in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (16-22-3):

Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Paajarvi - Belanger - Lander
Hordichuk - Kytnar - Eager

Smid - Petry
Sutton - Potter
Peckham - Teubert


New Jersey Devils (23-17-2):

Parise - Henrique - Kovalchuk
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus
Tedenby - Zalewski - Clarkson
Boulton - Carter - Palmieri

Tallinder - Fayne
Salvador - Larsson
Volchenkov - Foster


By the Numbers:

  • Kurtis Foster makes his return to Edmonton in a Devils' uniform. He came to New Jersey in December when the Ducks traded him and Timo Pielmeier for Rod Pelley and Mark Fraser. Not exactly a blockbuster. Foster has now played in thirteen games with the Devils and has registered no goals and five assists, four of them on the power play.
  • With Ryan O`Marra likely sitting out because of illness, Milan Kytnar has been recalled, which means both a nice payday, and a chance to play in his first NHL game. Kytnar had a fantastic end to the 2010-11 regular season (6-4-10 with 23 shots and a +7 rating in his last 10 games), but when reinforcements came down for the playoffs, he wound up being a healthy scratch. He was also injured for all of training camp this year, and was lost in the shuffle once he got healthy, which has left him in Stockton of the ECHL for most of the season where he's registered five goals, three assists, and a team-leading +4 rating in 14 games.
  • With Jordan Eberle joining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the sidelines, Tom Renney has decided to reunite Ryan Jones with Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff. The line was very effective early in the season, and it seems likely that they'll be used to match against Parise, Henrique, and Kovalchuk - three of New Jersey's top four scorers - which should provide the Oilers' top scorers with some excellent chances to score.
  • Patrik Elias is actually New Jersey's top scorer so far this season with 39 points in 41 games. His current contract expires after next season (just after his 37th birthday), so I suppose there's some chance he'll retire, though with production like that it's easy to see him continuing on. If he does, there's a good chance that he'll get to 1,000 career points, which often means an invite to the Hall of Fame (I'm only saying that because Adam Oates isn't in the room). So what say you? Is Patrik Elias a Hall of Famer?
  • In the first two months of the season, Sam Gagner had his fair share of struggles with just six points in eighteen games. But things have been much better in December and January: in those two months Gagner has scored fourteen points in sixteen games, and if he continues to play on a line with Ales Hemsky and Taylor Hall, that pace may just be something he can sustain.