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Oilers v. Kings - Mark 6:1-6a

When Tom got home from the road trip, accompanied by his doctors, it was clear that he had been injured. Over the last few years, many fans who watched him were amazed, but others began to talk about him after his arrival:

"How soft is this guy?" they asked. "Wasn't durability supposed to be one of his special talents? And how many games have his miraculous defensive powers helped us to win, anyway? How many times has he led this team to the playoffs?" And so they took great offense at him and were looking forward to finally having a defensive corps with a bit more in the way of truculence.

And so Tom, hearing the jeers in the airport, cried out, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown." The crowd looked at him with incredulity. How could someone respond in way that lame and yet that arrogant at the same time? This only encouraged their mockery, and Tom was stunned by their lack of faith.

Los Angeles Kings (22-15-8) @ Edmonton Oilers (16-23-4)

Rexall Place, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

The Kings are a pretty good team this season, and at a guess, the sixth best team in the Western Conference (the top five should be obvious to everyone save the Wild fans who still believe). The start of their season was already pretty disastrous thanks to some awful shooting, but could have been even worse had they not received exceptional goaltending from Jonathan Quick who's currently fifth in the NHL with a .933 save percentage (It's hard to believe that's only good enough for fifth). His back-up, Jonathan Bernier, has really struggled, which is why Derek figures that Quick makes an excellent choice for the Hart trophy after the first half of the season.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (16-23-4):

Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Paajarvi - Belanger - Lander
Green - O'Marra - Eager

Smid - Petry
Peckham - Potter
Sutton - Teubert


Los Angeles Kings (22-15-8):

Brown - Kopitar - Williams
Penner - Richards - Stoll
Clifford - Fraser - Hunter
Richardson - Loktionov - Lewis

Scuderi - Doughty
Mitchell - Voynov
Johnson - Greene


By the Numbers:

  • Sam Gagner and Ladislav Smid have played on a lot of very bad teams. The result is that both players are near the very bottom of the list in career plus/minus in an Oiler uniform. Smid is eighth-worst with a +/- of -46 and Sam Gagner is fifth-worst with a +/- of -50. The four guys Gagner still has to beat are Scott Thornton (-54), Jason Arnott (-56), Luke Richardson (-64), and Kelly Buchberger (-99).
  • The Kings complained quite a bit about Colin Fraser, but he has yet to (officially) be a healthy scratch since returning to the lineup in November. He only has four points in those thirty games, but he's been a mainstay on the Kings' fourth line and gets the fourth-most ice time per game among Kings' forwards on the penalty kill.
  • The tandem of Nikolai Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk got lit up again in the Oilers' last game, allowing five goals on twenty-eight shots. It was the seventh time in the last ten games that the Oilers have allowed at least four goals.
  • The guy with the best Corsi number on the team? Teemu Hartikainen at +11.2 per sixty minutes of five-on-five ice time. Obviously a tiny sample, but he had a Corsi number in the black last season too (in twelve games). Now, there's a lot more to player evaluation than a Corsi number (the guy has some things to work on), and some extra time in Oklahoma City isn't going to do him any harm, but moving a clearly overwhelmed Anton Lander out of position while keeping Hartikainen on the farm seems like an odd thing to do.
  • Ben Eager apparently won the fastest skater competition at the Oilers Skills contest. That combined with his size and meanness is exactly why the forward was drafted in the first round of the 2002 entry draft and why five NHL teams that didn't draft him have given him a chance. It raises the question, what exactly is keeping this guy from a consistent spot in someone's top nine?