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Oilers v. Canucks - Titus 1:10-12

There are many people who rebel against good sense and try to encourage others to do the same. This is especially true of people who cheer for the Canucks. This team needs to fade back into mediocrity for the good of humankind because their success is causing nothing but grief for everyone. Even their leaders are ashamed saying, "Some stupid people did some stupid stuff. It's embarrassing as a citizen of Vancouver." This is nothing but the stone cold truth.

Vancouver Canucks (37-15-6) @ Edmonton Oilers (22-29-6)

Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

I don't spend that much time watching the Vancouver Canucks, so I can't tell you what the problem is, but this is a very good team that's been playing poorly for a while now. Up until Christmas, the Canucks had a Fenwick percentage of 54.3% with the score close at even strength, which was among the best teams in the league, and pretty much what I expected from them coming into the year. But in their first twenty games after Christmas, the Canucks had a Fenwick percentage of just 46.9%, which is really, really bad. Now, it's just twenty games, and that's not exactly a huge sample, but... it's also a quarter of the season. Their record in regulation over that span is a bizarre 6-3-11, but their 7-4 record in OT/SO makes their official record of 13-3-4 look much more dominant. The goaltending has really helped in the middle portion of this season, but if they don't get the rest of the team turned around, the Canucks will have a lot of trouble come playoff-time.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (22-29-6):

Hall - Gagner - Eberle
Paajarvi - Horcoff - Hemsky
Smyth - Belanger - Jones
Eager - Lander - Petrell

Whitney - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Barker - Sutton


Vancouver Canucks (37-15-6):

Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Raymond - Kesler - Booth
Higgins - Hodgson - Hansen
Malhotra - Lapierre - Bitz

Hamhuis - Bieksa
Edler - Salo
Alberts - Rome


By the Numbers:

  • The Canucks are taking zone-starts to the extreme. Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre, and Dale Weise have all taken over 80% of their end-zone starts in the defensive zone. Malhotra's split is the most extreme. He has been on the ice for 62 OZ faceoffs during five-on-five play compared to 431 in the DZ.
  • That means someone is getting cherry minutes and that someone is the Sedins. Daniel and Henrik Sedin have both had over 75% of their end-zone starts in the offensive zone. For Daniel, that means 392 OZ starts, and just 105 in the DZ.
  • The result is another season with both Sedins in the top ten in scoring and in the top twenty in +/-, the same story as last year. Though it doesn't look like either will win the Art Ross or the Hart this time around.
  • Cody Hodgson is up to fourth in rookie scoring with 32 points, just three behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and six behind leader Adam Henrique. The Calder Trophy race could be very interesting. I could see Nugent-Hopkins winning the thing, but I could also see him getting left off a lot of ballots, especially if he ends up being on the shelf for an extended period of time.
  • Question for everybody out there: would you rather have the top three rookies in points or the top three in +/- from this year's crew? The first group is Henrique, Nugent-Hopkins, and Matt Read. The second is Carl Hagelin, Gabriel Landeskog, and Sean Couturier. I'd probably lean toward the latter, and this despite the fact that +/- is a deceptive stat. Fact is, so are points totals, or anything else used in isolation.