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Oilers v. Canucks - 1 Samuel 30:4-6

Chris Austin-USA TODAY Sports

So Gagner and all those who loved him raised their voices and wept until they didn't even have the strength to weep. For even Gagner's linemates, whoever they might be, would receive criticism from the fans whenever they played with him. Gagner was in great danger, for the people spoke of trading him out of bitterness (they had grown tired of losing). But Gagner stood firm, confident that God was with him, knowing that one day soon he would shove any and all criticisms up the backsides of his critics.

Edmonton Oilers @ Vancouver Canucks

Rogers Arena, 7:00 p.m. MST
Television: CBC

Visiting Team Scouting Report: For the first time in several seasons, the Canucks are in a battle to make the playoffs at this point in the season. That's not so much because their record is a lot worse this year than it has been previously (they were 18-10-2 on December 13th in 2011-12 and 16-8-4 in 2010-11 compared to 18-10-5 today), but rather, because there are nine teams in the Western Conference off to excellent starts. And the Canucks aren't a lock to move up. Their Fenwick percentage with the score tied is just 50.9%, clearly above average, but only good enough for ninth in the Western Conference. They should be able to handle the Oilers (who are playing on the road in the second of back-to-back games), but are likely to be battling at the bottom half of the Conference's playoff teams all season.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (11-19-3):

Hall - Gagner - Yakupov
Perron - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Arcobello - Gordon - Hemsky
Joensuu - Lander - Gazdic

Ference - Larsen
N Schultz - J Schultz
Belov - Petry


Vancouver Canucks (18-10-5):

D Sedin - H Sedin - Hansen
Higgins - Kesler - Santorelli
Booth - Richardson - Kassian
Sestito - Dalpe - Weise

Hamhuis - Tanev
Stanton - Bieksa
Alberts - Garrison


By The Numbers:

  • Jordan Eberle is currently leading the Oilers with 28 points, good enough for 26th overall in the NHL. From the start of 2011-12 until today, he's in a tie for 16th with 141 points. Of the 15 players ahead of him, only Martin St. Louis ($5.625M) John Tavares ($5.5M), and Chris Kunitz ($3.85M) will have lower cap hits in 2013-14.
  • John Tortorella seems to believe that his best players should play more. Henrik Sedin is averaging 21:51 so far this season compared to a previous career high of 19:41, Daniel Sedin is averaging 21:43 compared to a previous high of 19:08, and Ryan Kesler is averaging 22:14 compared to a previous high of 20:40.
  • I know that I just mentioned Philip Larsen a few games ago in this space, but who would have guessed that Larsen would be averaging more ice time per game (21:44) than Jeff Petry (21:29) at this point in the season. I, for one, am very interested to see where Larsen ends up in the next edition of the Top 25 Under 25 after debuting at #20 in the summer.