Yahweh is our leader, he wears the captain's "C";
Yahweh is draped in orange and blue, he is mighty to save.
He laid the foundations of this team, and this league,
yes, even the foundations of the earth itself.
He loved the Oilers before bringing them into existence
and he will love them with us forevermore.
The floodwaters are rising, O Yahweh:
the losses are mounting,
and our greatest warriors cry out in pain.
Yet we know that you are with us,
more powerful than any player,
and more ancient than even the most storied franchise.
Your decrees are certain.
If you desire a win, we will taste victory, no matter our troubles.
May it be so tonight, O Yahweh, may it be so tonight.
Bell Centre, 5:30 p.m. MDT
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The last time these played, a key reason for Montreal's victory was superior depth. But with Max Pacioretty, Danny Briere, and Brandon Prust all injured for tonight's game, this Montreal team looks very different. Prust isn't a huge loss, but he was part of a fourth line that absolutely crushed Edmonton's fourth line the last time these two teams played. Briere is a somewhat limited player, but he remains a good offensive player, and that contribution can't be replaced easily by the players Montreal has to elevate (e.g. Travis Moen). Pacioretty is a huge loss. He's one of the team's three best possession forwards, and with the emergence of the Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher trio, the Canadiens were using him away from Plekanec and Gionta in order to ice three excellent lines. They can't do that anymore. The Oilers, dealing with injuries of their own, aren't really in a position to take advantage, but Montreal's bottom two lines are much more vulnerable today than they were the last time these teams met.
Edmonton Oilers (2-6-1):
Yakupov - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Perron - Arcobello - Hemsky
Jones - Gordon - Pitlick
Eager - Acton -Gazdic
Belov - J Schultz
Smid - Petry
N Schultz - Ference
Montreal Canadiens (5-3-0):
Galchenyuk - Eller - Gallagher
Bournival - Plekanec - Gionta
Moen - Desharnais - Bourque
Blunden - White - Holland
Markov - Subban
Gorges - Diaz
Bouillon - Beaulieu
By The Numbers:
- Tyler Pitlick is about to become the 48th player from the 2010 entry draft to play an NHL game. His offensive performance in the AHL (0.35 points per game in 142 career regular season and playoff games) doesn't suggest a strong NHL player, and with three points in seven games, he doesn't seem to have taken a step forward offensively this season. On the one hand, that's bad. On the other hand, Pitlick is being called up anyway, which means, I would assume, that the team feels he can contribute without generating a lot of offense. In other words, Pitlick doesn't have the same pressure a lot of prospects might to put up strong offense, and can instead be confident that playing a responsible game will be enough to keep him in the NHL.
- P.K. Subban is having an outstanding start to the season. With 10 points in 8 games, he leads all defensemen in scoring, his 26 shots on goal leave him in fifth place, and his 24:48 per came is seventeenth among the league's defenders. He has been on the ice for just three goals against during five-on-five play against seven goals for. Subban's contract is currently one of the league's great bargains, and it still strikes me as being particularly odd that either he wasn't willing to sign an offer sheet or no team was willing to give him one.
- He's not getting a huge push on special teams, but Andrew Ference is one of the clear top three choices for the Oilers at even strength so far this season. Ference is averaging 17:19 per game at evens so far this year, which is third behind Justin Schultz's 17:52 and Jeff Petry's 17:58. It's interesting to me that Dallas Eakins plans to begin this game (as he did the last one) with all three players on different pairings.