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Oilers v. Flames - Mark 3:31-35

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Derek Leung

When the Flames arrived they sent for the Oilers wanting to ask some questions about what this whole rebuilding process feels like so many years down the road. There were some other teams there, and they said to the Oilers, "Your neighbors have arrived, and are waiting to ask you some questions." But the Oilers replied, "And who are my neighbors?" Looking at the Blue Jackets and Panthers seated around them, they said, "Here are our neighbors! Whoever knows the pain of eternal rebuilding, those ones are our true spiritual neighbors."

Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers

Rexall Place, 8:00 p.m. MST
Television: CBC

Visiting Team Scouting Report: In some ways, the Oilers and Flames are very similar teams. Neither team is very good at controlling play five-on-five (the Flames have a 45.6% Fenwick percentage with the score tied, the Oilers 44.2%), and the problem is compounded for both teams by their horrible goaltending (Calgary's save percentage in all five-on-five situations is .898, Edmonton's is .899). Put together, that makes these two of the worst teams in the league. The Oilers probably have more skill up front, and their goaltenders have a better long-term track record, but I'd give Calgary's defense the edge right now. It's been interesting to hear fans of the Oilers talk about Calgary's team. I wouldn't say there's any jealousy, but there's a palpable sense that this team should be much better than the Flames, and that in terms of work ethic, the Flames are well ahead. I don't watch Calgary enough to know, but I wonder how much that perception arises simply because this is Calgary's first year in the tank and because of where each team was expected to finish in the standings at the start of the year.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (10-18-2):

Hall - Gagner - Yakupov
Perron - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Smyth - Arcobello - Hemsky
Gazdic - Lander - Jones

Ference - Larsen
N Schultz - J Schultz
Marincin - Petry

Dubnyk

Calgary Flames (10-14-4):

Cammalleri - Stajan - Stempniak
Hudler - Backlund - D Jones
Baertschi - Byron - B Jones
MacDermid - Bouma - Smith

Butler - Giordano
Russell - Brodie
Smid - O'Brien

Berra

By The Numbers:

  • The Edmonton Oilers control play better with Mark Arcobello on the ice than they do any other player. Edmonton's Fenwick percentage with Arcobello on the ice during five-on-five play is 51.8%, and this despite the fact that Arcobello has been on the ice for more defensive zone draws (108) than he has offensive draws (93). I think the Oilers have a real opportunity to get Arcobello signed to a value contract that could pay major dividends for them over the next two or three years. It's something they've had far too little of through this rebuilding process, and I can only hope they don't squander the opportunity.
  • Jiri Hudler is on pace for his best season offensively by a fair margin. Hudler was amassed 26 points through his first 28 games playing 19:26 per night. That last number is particularly relevant. Before arriving in Calgary, Hudler had never averaged more than 15:40 per game, and even last year with the Flames, he played just 17:10. Opportunity has an enormous impact on per game performance, which makes comparing players tremendously difficult.
  • That kind of difference in opportunity also makes me wonder a little about Taylor Hall. Hall is playing at a point per game pace again this year, but the team is struggling when Hall is on the ice five-on-five, amassing a Fenwick percentage of just 45.8%. I wonder how much of Hall's decline is because of fatigue. He's playing two minutes more per game than he did last season, and while the increase isn't all at even strength, the extra minutes may be taking a toll.