There was a time when the whole hockey-world spoke English and communication was easy. People had started settling down in the East and they played hockey for fun; it was a fantastic sport! One day they got together and said, "Let's start playing indoors, and we'll put a Cup on the line!" (they weren't allowed to make forward passes yet, but it was still hockey). Then they said, "We should start a league, we'll invite teams from all around to come and compete for the Cup, and in that way we'll make a name for ourselves! We'll be worshiped like gods!"
It turned out that Yahweh was drawn to the fantastic game and so he moseyed on down from heaven to take a look at what these crazy people had gone and invented this time. When he saw it Yahweh said to himself, "This is amazing! If, because they all speak one language, they were able to create this magnificent sport, imagine what else they might create that will cause them to be worshiped!" So Yahweh spoke to his divine friends and said, "Let's get down there and make sure to throw the French into the mix; heck, let's make them the best players! It will be like consolation for when we helped the English take control of their land."
And so Yahweh gave power to the French who dominated the game for many years, and the English couldn't understand why they could no longer win at the game they'd invented. And that's why the French call a goal a "but"--Yahweh may have given the English control of their land BUT he helped the French win at hockey.
But in recent times Yahweh has taken his divine empowerment for hockey-ability and scattered it all across Europe and North America because the French have abandoned him. Yahweh's punishment began in 1967 and has gotten harsher and harsher ever since.
Montreal Canadiens @ Edmonton Oilers
Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MDT
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Montreal Canadiens have had a rough start to their season on the scoreboard, but they've been carrying the play more often than not. The Canadiens have the second best Corsi percentage with the score close (anytime the game is tied, or within two goals during the first and second period) at 59.6%. That shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Their forward group is very good, Carey Price is a quality netminder, and they've got last year's Norris Trophy winner on the blueline. If there's an area of concern, it's got to be depth on the blueline, and I expect the Canadiens to add a top-four blueliner between now and the trade deadline. Add that to a returning Alexei Emelin and the Canadiens will have all the tools to be a real Cup challenger in the Eastern Conference.
Edmonton Oilers (1-2-0):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Perron - Gordon - Hemsky
Smyth - Arcobello - Yakupov
Gazdic - Acton - Brown
Ference - J Schultz
Belov - Petry
Smid - N Schultz
Montreal Canadiens (1-2-0):
Pacioretty - Briere - Bourque
Galchenyuk - Eller - Gallagher
Prust - Plekanec - Gionta
Moen - Bournival - White
Gorges - Subban
Markov - Diaz
Tinordi - Bouillon
By The Numbers:
- Through three games, the Oilers have scored the first goal in two games, but only won the game where the opponent got the first marker. Unfortunately, those two losses continue a troubling trend. The Oilers winning percentage when scoring the first goal was just 50.0% last season and 57.5% in 2011-12, good for 30th and 25th in the NHL respectively.
Max Pacioretty placed fifth among forwards who played at least twenty games last season in terms of five-on-five Corsi per sixty minutes of ice time at +24.8/60. The only four players above him (Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron, and Tyler Seguin) formed two thirds of two of the most dominant lines in the league. Yes, Pacioretty was being fed offensive zone ice time to put up that big number, but that's still awfully impressive, especially since he played most often with David Desharnais and rookie Brendan Gallagher.
- Ladislav Smid played just 16:40 in Edmonton's last game against the New Jersey Devils. He played less than that just three times last season, and one of those games saw him take twenty-three minutes in penalties. Smid is now slated to play on the bottom pairing with Nick Schultz, and with Denis Grebeshkov almost ready to return, Smid could end up being a healthy scratch. If that happens, it'll be much more surprising than Ryan Smyth's turn in the press-box against the Devils.