Come on, you wild animals of the fields!
Come on, you wild animals of the seas!
Come and devour us!
The leaders of our Oilers,
God's chosen and treasured team,
are blind and ignorant fools!
They are like guard dogs
that won't make a sound when danger arrives.
They love having responsibility, but hate following through.
They are like nursing mothers
that care about nothing but themselves.
"Come," they say, "let's get the booze flowing!
Let's celebrate our new children!"
But the children themselves starve,
their needs entirely unmet.
Edmonton Oilers (26-35-7)
Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Sharks haven't done a whole lot since I last wrote about them when the Oilers were heading to San Jose, but enough has gone wrong to make any Sharks' fan feel ill at ease. First the Sharks lost in the shoot-out to the Oilers. Then they did the same in Dallas before getting beat up by Mike Smith and the Coyotes. This is a team that's likely among the best three or four in the Conference, but might still miss the playoffs. They're 6-11-3 over their last twenty games, which is pretty atrocious. Then again, given the whole choking narrative that's been built up around this team, it would be pretty great to see them sneak into the playoffs on the last day and then go on to win the Cup.
Edmonton Oilers (26-35-7):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Omark - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Horcoff - Petrell
Eager - Belanger - Jones
Smid - Petry
Whitney - Schultz
Sutton - Potter
San Jose Sharks (33-25-9):
Couture - Thornton - Pavelski
Winnik - Marleau - Clowe
Wingels - Moore - Mitchell
Galiardi - Desjardins - Ferriero
Vlasic - Burns
Murray - Boyle
White - Demers
By the Numbers:
- Nick Schultz was given the biggest role on defense of his short Oiler career in Edmonton's last game in Colorado. He played over twenty minutes for the first time (20:59), and wasn't kept away from the other team's best. He wasn't used in a "shut-down" role either, but this was the first time in a while that Tom Renney didn't use Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry to target the opposition's best line (their most common forward opponent was Gabriel Landeskog, but Petry was only on the ice for 40% of Landeskog's EV ice time, while Smid got 32%).
- This has obviously not been Ales Hemsky's best season. He's got just five goals. His +/- is -16. A lot of that is percentages that we can reasonably expect to come back going forward, but not all of it. Hemsky's registered just 1.78 shots per game this season, the lowest total since 2003-04 and well back of the 2.29 shots per game he averaged from 2005-06 to 2010-11. Is some of that the fact that he's getting less power play time? Absolutely. But he may not get that back going forward, and we should adjust our expectations accordingly.
- Among forwards with at least 500 minutes, there are five Oilers or former Oilers who are among the twelve worst when it comes to goals per hour of ice time. Magnus Paajarvi is twelfth-last (0.22 goals per hour), Anton Lander tenth (0.20), Eric Belanger seventh (0.18), Colin Fraser fifth (0.12), and Marty Reasoner holds down last place with a sterling 0.00. If he finishes the year without a goal, he'll join six other forwards who have played at least 500 minutes in a season without scoring. The others are Tyson Nash (2005-06), Alex Hicks (1998-99), Craig MacDonald (2003-04), Jeff Giuliano (2007-08), Bill Muckalt (2001-02), and Craig Adams (2009-10). Adams holds the record for most total time on ice (910 minutes), and was also, amazingly, dressed for all 82 regular season games.
- Shawn Horcoff has a -21 rating so far this season, and if that holds up, he'll join Wayne Gretzky and 140 other players since 1967-68 (the year they began tracking +/-) with at least three seasons of -20 or worse.
- One of the ways that we measure territorial play is by ZoneShift, which compares how many shifts a player starts in the offensive zone against the number he finishes in the offensive zone. For the Oilers, Ryan Smyth, Ladislav Smid, and Taylor Hall are leading the team in this category while Lennart Petrell, Colten Teubert, and Ben Eager bring up the rear. Among players with at least twenty games played, Petrell is actually third-last in the league ahead of only Jody Shelley and Stephane Da Costa. But Petrell isn't alone in the bottom twenty. Colten Teubert is sixth-last, Ben Eager is eighth-last, Ryan Whitney is 14th-last, and Anton Lander is 18th-last. Though to be totally honest, I'm not sure how much stock to put in this particular measurement. Yeah, the bottom of the list passes the smell-test, but the top league's top three are Matt Kassian, Dana Tyrell, and Dale Weise.