If you decide to watch this game, make sure to put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist temptation. If you watch, you must do so safely so that you will not be tempted to give up on this team completely. Sit in your most comfortable chair, put on the jersey of truth, and look over at your lucky puck. Rub your face and visualize the beard that has grown there and will grow again. Yes, be fully prepared for disappointment in the present while maintaining your hope for the future.
Edmonton Oilers @ St. Louis Blues
Scottrade Center, 6:00 p.m. MST
The Race to the Bottom (It's Happening Again):
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The St. Louis Blues are a very good hockey team. They were an excellent team before the trade deadline, and probably improved their team substantially with the addition of Ryan Miller in goal simply because, barring injury, it means Brian Elliott won't even be considered to start games for the club during the playoffs. That isn't to say that Elliott has been awful in the playoffs, but his .911 playoff save percentage with the Blues isn't great, and more importantly, his long term track record doesn't suggest that Elliott is an excellent starter. As such, Miller will provide an already good team with stability and remove most of the temptation to make a significant coaching error.
Edmonton Oilers (23-35-8):
Hall - Gagner - Perron
Yakupov - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Hendricks - Gordon - Joensuu
Gazdic - Smyth - Jones
Marincin - Petry
Fraser - Schultz
Klefbom - Ference
St. Louis Blues (44-14-7):
Schwartz - Backes - Steen
Tarasenko - Sobotka - Oshie
Berglund - Roy - Ott
Paajarvi - Lapierre - Reaves
Pietrangelo - Bouwmeester
Shattenkirk - Jackman
Cole - Polak
By The Numbers:
- The Edmonton Oilers haven't made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. So who are the team's leading goalscorers from 2006-07 until today? Here's the top ten: Ales Hemsky (105), Sam Gagner (98), Shawn Horcoff (96), Dustin Penner (93), Jordan Eberle (89), Taylor Hall (87), Ryan Smyth (61), Andrew Cogliano (57), Ryan Jones (40), and Fernando Pisani (38).
- Magnus Paajarvi isn't on the list, and doesn't make St. Louis' top ten goalscorers this season either. Paajarvi is currently 14th on the team with six goals. But a lot of the offensive regression Paajarvi has seen from his rookie year when he scored fifteen goals is about opportunity. In his rookie season, Paajarvi averaged 15:23 per game. This season, he hasn't played more than 14:50 in any of his forty-three games.
- After looking up that top ten for goals, I was curious about the top ten for games played with the Oilers from 2006-07 until today. Here it is: Ladislav Smid (474), Sam Gagner (467), Shawn Horcoff (449), Ales Hemsky (441), Tom Gilbert (384), Andrew Cogliano (328), Dustin Penner (304), Jordan Eberle (260), Steve Staios (260), and Zack Stortini (256).