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Oilers v. Lightning - Proverbs 1:24-27

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

We called so often, but they didn't answer;
we reached out, but they paid no attention.
They rejected any kind of new thinking,
and refused to listen to any kind of correction.
Now there is nothing to do but laugh at this endless trouble,
to be snide when the inevitable disaster strikes,
to smirk when they're blown away by the Lightning,
and shake your head when they're hammered by the Blues,
and the predictable fall down the standings happens again.

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Edmonton Oilers

Rexall Place, 6:00 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the worst teams in the league by Fenwick percentage at five-on-five with the score tied (44.5%). This year, they're one of the best teams in the league by the same measure (53.8%). So what's different? The Lightning hired new head coach, Jon Cooper, but they also added to their core without losing anyone who played big minutes last season. The top seven skaters in terms of minutes played from 2012-13 (Carle, Stamkos, St. Louis, Hedman, Brewer, Salo, Purcell) have all returned, but just three (Carle, St. Louis, Hedman) are among the top seven this season. The new guys (Filppula, Johnson, Gudas, Killorn) have played well and pushed some of Tampa's previous top players down the lineup.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (13-26-5):

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

Ference - J Schultz
Marincin - Petry
N Schultz - Hunt


Tampa Bay Lightning (25-12-4):

Palat - Johnson - St. Louis
Killorn - Filppula - Purcell
Kucherov - Thompson - Brown
Malone - Panik - Cote

Hedman - Salo
Carle - Gudas
Brewer - Sustr


By The Numbers:

  • From 2008-09 to 2011-12 Ryan Jones had a 12.9% shooting percentage on 388 shots, but over the last two seasons, that shooting percentage has fallen to 5.7%. Jones isn't a great player to begin with, so having his luck turn negative just makes things worse. He'll need to find a way to turn things around if he hopes to find NHL employment next season.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have seen eight different rookies play at least 15 games so far this season: Tyler Johnson (41), Ondrej Palat (41), Radko Gudas (36), Richard Panik (34), Andrej Sustr (34), Mark Barberio (25), J.T. Brown (24), and Nikita Kucherov (18). That's easily the highest total in the league (Buffalo is second with five), and that many rookies isn't usually a recipe for success... and yet the Lightning are sitting pretty as the third seed in the East.
  • The Oilers, meanwhile, have just two rookies with at least fifteen games played so far this season (Mark Arcobello and Luke Gazdic), but that total is likely to climb after the Oilers purge some players at the deadline. The team had two rookies meet the 15-game threshold in 2012-13 (Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz), four in 2011-12 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Anton Lander, Colten Teubert, and Teemu Hartikainen), six in 2010-11 (Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Jeff Petry, and Ryan O'Marra), and three in 2009-10 (Taylor Chorney, Ryan Stone, and Theo Peckham).