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Oilers v. Stars - Nehemiah 6:12-13

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It was a warm August afternoon that I suddenly understood that God had not sent Craig to give me good advice at all, but instead that Craig had given me bad advice because Daryl and Kevin had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me and make me act foolishly so that they could give me a bad name and fire me, taking all the eventual glory for themselves.

Edmonton Oilers @ Dallas Stars

American Airlines Center, 6:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: On January 1st, the Dallas Stars had worked their way back into the playoff race, capitalizing on some wobbly play from the Coyotes and Wild by winning a bunch of games themselves. Since then, the club has lost six in a row, all against teams in the much weaker Eastern Conference. Ouch. They're not out of it yet (eight points back of Minnesota for the last wildcard spot, but with three games in hand), but that's one stretch of the season the Stars are likely to look back on with a whole lot of regret.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (15-28-5):

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

Ference - J Schultz
Marincin - Petry
Belov - N Schultz


Dallas Stars (20-18-7):

Benn - Seguin - Cole
Horcoff - Peverley - Nichushkin
Roussel - Eakin - Garbutt
Whitney - Fiddler - Chiasson

Goligoski - Daley
Benn - Dillon
Connauton - Gonchar


By The Numbers:

  • Andrew Ference is averaging 21:25 in ice time so far this season, which is more than he played last season, but isn't way out of step with what he's done at other times in his career. Ference averaged 21:32 with the Bruins in 2008-09, for example, a team that finished with a record of 53-19-10.
  • When the Oilers were picking at the draft this year, the guy at the top of my list in the first round was Valeri Nichushkin, who's having a pretty good rookie season in Dallas. Nichushkin has 22 points in 44 games, averaging just over 15:00 per game, including 1:23 on the power play (10th on the team among players with at least 20 games played). Darnell Nurse is having a very good season too, so I'm not throwing stuff at the wall here, but it'll be interesting to compare the two players over the next decade as we try to discern whether or not the Oilers made the right choice.
  • If we count overtime losses as straight losses, the Oilers have an overall NHL record (W-L-T) of 1210-1192-262 over the course of their existence. It's amazing to me that it'll only take 19 more losses for the horribleness of the horrible years to have been long and bad enough to overtake the awesomeness of the dynasty seasons.