By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
For the second time in a week, the Boston Bruins will play the Edmonton Oilers at 9:00pm EST. Last week’s matchup in Boston resulted in a 4-1 victory for the Black and Gold in Boston but this week, the two teams will meet in the capital of Alberta, Canada – Edmonton.
Boston is also coming off of their second loss of the 2018-19 season, a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames last night. Boston struggled to muster any offence during the game and the defence was not too much better throughout the sixty minutes of hockey. If you missed that game, I highly suggest you take a look at my game recap from last night’s loss.
On the other hand, Edmonton is feeling hot right now following a comeback overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. The Oilers fell to a 4-1 deficit at the hands of the Jets but managed to battle back in the third period before Darnell Nurse scored the game-winning goal in the 3-on-3 overtime session.
It was the second victory in a row for the Edmonton team, defeating the New York Rangers 2-1 last Saturday. Before then, the Oilers lost the first two contests of the new season consecutively against the Devils and the Bruins.
For Boston, the only thing that has been hot over the first handful of games is their top line. Following an impressive performance against the Detroit Red Wings, a game where they accumulated eight goals, they lacked the touch and failed to score more than two goals for the first time since losing to Washington on opening night.
Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and added his seventh assist of the season against the Flames to bring his totals to 6-7-13 in six games thus far. Brad Marchand also scored a goal in Calgary, which was the cause of Bergeron’s assist. David Pastrnak was also credited with an assist on the play. Pastrnak did put the puck past the red line late in the first period but was waved off following a Coach’s Challenge due to an offside on entry into the Flames’ zone.
In almost every “Who’s Hot” against the Oilers, expect to see superstar Connor McDavid’s name in the category. McDavid recently set a new NHL record for the most consecutive goals to start the season for a team that he was apart of (9). He currently has four goals and five assists in the first four games and he will be looking to create more offence with his dynamic speed and acceleration.
Depth. To break that down a little further, the Bruins and Oilers need more help on the second, third, and fourth line for scoring. The Oilers still have not scored a goal without the help of Connor McDavid during 5-on-5 play and players such as Ryan Strome and Drake Caggiula still have yet to score a single point for Edmonton.
Oilers goalie Cam Talbot has not been good to start this season either. In four starts, Caledonia, Ontario native has a 3.01 goals-against-average with a 0.895 SV%. Not great numbers for your starting goaltender if you are the Edmonton Oilers. Whether or not he plays against Boston tonight, they need him to be solid going forward in the season.
Boston’s second-line is still in the biggest question. David Krejci added his fifth assist of the season in the loss to Calgary, but he has yet to score a goal of his own so far and the Bruins will need him to pot a few as the campaign goes on. Jake DeBrusk scored two goals against the Red Wings, the only two points he has so far and he sits at a -1 rating.
The third-line for the B’s has been looking decent, but a real lack of points from the line is not quite what the team wants out of them. Danton Heinen was a healthy scratch for two consecutive games and the Bruins may look to shake things up once again to get a win over Edmonton.
Bruins vs Oilers Outlook
Head Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed on Tuesday that goaltender Jaroslav Halak will get the start Thursday against Edmonton due to Rask getting the start last night. Halak is currently undefeated in two starts for the Bruins, rocking a 1.18 GAA and a .961 SV%. Halak has been a solid acquisition for the Bruins so far this season after he signed with the club during this past offseason.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is scheduled to play in his 900th career game as a Boston Bruin, becoming only the sixth player in Bruin history to hit the milestone. It will also be Chara’s 1430th NHL regular season game – a career that began in 1997.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is only one assist from tallying 200 career assists, a feat he would love to achieve in tonight’s contest against Boston.
The mission for both teams is simple – shut down the top line of the opposing team and hope to have your depth score some timely goals for your club. The Bruins need to rebound after a tough loss to Calgary and cannot lose two straight games on this back-to-back. A win tonight for the B’s could erase last night’s game and they can look forward to the closing games on this Canadian road trip.
Edmonton will be looking to continue their new-found success thanks to the two wins they have earned in a row over the Rangers and the Jets. If the Oilers can find scoring in the bottom lines, they can become a scary team in the Western Conference very soon.
Tonight’s game is already the last game of the season series between Boston and Edmonton. Will the Bruins go 2-0 over the team from Oil Town? Or will Edmonton force a split in the season series?