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Canadiens vs Oilers game thread

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Dustin Tokarski is between the pipes tonight as the Habs go after their fourth win in a row.

Derek Leung/Getty Images

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 (English): Sportsnet  East
In Canada (French):  RDS
In Oilers Region: Sportsnet West
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice or NHL Gamecenter Live

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Brandon Prust Lars Eller Jiri Sekac
Michaël Bournival Jacob de la Rose Christian Thomas
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Nathan Bealieu Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin Tom Gilbert
Dustin Tokarski
Carey Price

Scratched: Mike WeaverManny Malhotra
P.A. Parenteau (concussion)

Edmonton Oilers Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
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
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrew Ference Jeff Petry
Oscar Klefbom Justin Schultz
Martin Marincin Mark Fayne
Viktor Fasth
Richard Bachman

Scratched: Keith Aulie, Matt Fraser
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.