Tonight the Habs have a chance to increase their winning streak to four games against a team that is very much maligned in the standings and as an organization after another rough year.
A quick stats glance puts into perspective how valuable minor differences in a team's organizational make-up can have a major effect. There is no question that the Edmonton Oilers have been one of the worst teams in the NHL for a long time. First overall draft-picks tend to turn that trend around, let alone 3 first overall picks in three consecutive years, but the Oilers have not managed to have an above .500 season since 2008-09. Much criticism seems to center around team president Kevin Lowe, who has passed the blame through four different coaches since Craig McTavish was promoted from Head Coach to Vice President of Hockey Operations in 2009.
That said, what may be surprising to Habs fans this year is that the Canadiens are ranked barely a hair above the Oilers in Corsi-For % at a rate of 49.4% compared to Edmonton's 49.0%. Once you pull your eyes back from this glaring revelation, other stats begin to tell a story of how it is possible for a team that generates nearly the same level of offensive events-for than one of the worst teams in the league can be competing for the top spot in their conference. In particular, the Habs apparently don't need to create as much offense when they are boasting the best goals against average in the league (2.21).
Despite the Oilers' struggles, the Habs cannot take any opponent lightly. With two critical points on the line, the Canadiens will want to come out strong as they jockey for position for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The puck drops at 7:30 PM EST.
In Canada (French): RDS
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice or NHL Gamecenter Live
|David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Brandon Prust||Lars Eller||Jiri Sekac|
|Michaël Bournival||Jacob de la Rose||Christian Thomas|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Nathan Bealieu||Sergei Gonchar|
|Alexei Emelin||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Manny Malhotra
Injuries: P.A. Parenteau (concussion)
|Teddy Purcell||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Jordan Eberle|
|Ryan Hamilton||Derek Roy||Nail Yakupov|
|Luke Gazdic||Anton Lander||Iiro Pakarinen|
|Matt Hendricks||Boyd Gordon||Rob Klinkhammer|
|Andrew Ference||Jeff Petry|
|Oscar Klefbom||Justin Schultz|
|Martin Marincin||Mark Fayne|
Scratched: Keith Aulie, Matt Fraser
Injuries: Ben Scrivens (hamstring), Taylor Hall (leg), Benoit Pouliot (foot), Nikita Nikitin (shoulder), Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen)
Check out the enemy over at The Copper & Blue.