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Oilers v. Blackhawks - Mark 1:29-34

When Tambellini left the draft with Lowe and MacGregor, they came back home to Edmonton. Now, the Oilers were a repulsive team, and the whole city was very concerned. So Tambellini went to the fans, and spoke encouraging words to them about the team improving, and about following a plan. The whole city was reassured and prepared a feast in Tambellini's honor.

When January arrived, it was clear that the team had been cursed by demons and struck down by disease. The whole town gathered to ask Tambellini what needed to be done. So Tambellini went out to them and said, "Do I want a lottery pick? No.... but.... the cure for any sickness is a first overall pick; and if the team has a demon, it can be cast out by the power of a first overall pick. What we need to do now is get another first overall pick. And then all will be well."

Chicago Blackhawks (29-15-7) @ Edmonton Oilers (19-26-5)

Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: TSN

More analysis after the jump...

Visiting Team Scouting Report:

Like last season, the Chicago Blackhawks are one of the better teams in the Western Conference. Unlike last season, they're pretty much guaranteed a spot in the playoffs now. So what does this team need the most at the deadline? I'd say help between the pipes should be the top consideration. Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have been less than average so far this season, and neither has the track record to suggest a bounce-back is imminent. The only trouble is finding a decent fit. It depends on who's selling, but of the goalies likely to be available to them, Evgeni Nabokov and Josh Harding probably make the most sense. The most hilarious option would be a team like Tampa Bay acquiring Cory Schneider and then flipping him to the Hawks. At any rate, the club really could use an upgrade.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (19-26-5):

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

Smid - Petry
Whitney - Potter
Peckham - Sutton


Chicago Blackhawks (29-15-7):

Stalberg - Toews - Kane
Sharp - Morrison - Hossa
Shaw - Bolland - Kruger
Brunette - Mayers - Frolik

Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Leddy
Montador - O'Donnell


By the Numbers:

  • Devan Dubnyk is having an absolutely incredible season, and has most definitely exceeded my expectations. He is one of just twelve goaltenders in the league that has faced at least 450 shots at even strength and come out with a save percentage of .930 or better. That also brings him up to .919 for his career. Yeah, he's struggled big-time on the PK this year - his .828 save percentage in that situation is fifth-worst among goalies who have faced at least 100 short-handed shots - but the sample there is much smaller. With Dubnyk's contract up at the end of the season, I think the Oilers are in a strong position to get good value. I'd be happy to see a short-term deal at low money (one or two years at about $1.5M), and even happier with a longish-term deal at middling money (something like four years at no more than $2.5M). I don't know that Dubnyk would be interested in the longer deal, but I've got to think that it would be tough to leave a $10M deal on the table.
  • Philippe Cornet earned both an assist and a second NHL game with his play against the Colorado Avalanche. That puts him in a tie for 4,886th in career regular season scoring and makes him one of 5,247 players to score at least one point during an NHL regular season. That alone is a pretty amazing accomplishment, and something that no one can take away from him.
  • Ales Hemsky is on pace for his worst offensive season since the lockout. Some of that is because of reduced power play time, but his even strength points per game has also reached a new low. After posting years of 0.41, 0.48, 0.55, 0.49, 0.64, and 0.66, Hemsky is down to 0.35 this season.
  • It's unbelievable to me that Nick Leddy is turning out to be a pretty good hockey player. At 20 years old, he's already third on the Blackhawks in time on ice with 22:39 per game, and is averaging almost half a point per game. So where did he come from? The Chicago Blackhawks acquired him along with Kim Johnsson during the 2009-10 season from the Minnesota Wild for Cam Barker. Leddy was born in Minnesota, was drafted by the Wild out of a Minnesota high school program, and was playing at the University of Minnesota at the time of the trade. In that Johnsson was a good defenseman at the time (he was felled by a concussion shortly after the trade), I just assumed that Leddy must have been the bustiest of first-round busts to get included in that deal. Nope!
  • In case you forgot, Cam Barker stinks. Of course, you wouldn't know it from his team-leading +3 rating. Hopefully Barker can put a few good games together when he gets back in the lineup so that the Oilers can trade him to the Wild at the deadline for Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin.