Two games down in their Western Canadian swing, two victories.
All that’s standing from the Bruins earning a three-game sweep of the Canadian representatives in the Pacific Division are the Oilers tonight at the state of the art Rogers Place in Downtown Edmonton.
One night removed from snapping the Flames’ 10-game win streak in Calgary, the Bruins face an Oilers bunch that are on a little bit of a skid having gone 4-5-1 in their last 10. Bruce Cassidy and company enter tonight’s game with a five-point lead over the Islanders and Lightning – both tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference – and a six-point advantage over the Maple Leafs, who they’ll face Monday night in Toronto.
A win tonight would put the Bruins within two points of the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Ottawa Senators, who face the Blackhawks tonight, are one point behind the Habs and three points ahead of the Black and Gold. The Habs and Senators will meet this weekend in a home and home – their first of three games left between the two teams in a seven-day span.
Regardless of what happens with the Habs and Senators, the Bruins can help their own cause with a win tonight in Edmonton and put them that much closer to a playoff spot.
Gametime: 9:00 pm
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 38-26-6 (82 points), Oilers 36-24-9 (81 points)
Location: Rogers Place
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Drew Stafford-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
Oilers projected lines
Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot-David Desharnais-Zack Kassian
Drake Caggiula-Mark Letestu-Anton Slepyshev
Oskar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera-Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse-Matt Benning
– Following a nasty collision in the first period that forced David Backes to be assisted to the locker room, the former Blues captain returned in grand style in the middle 20. Scoring the go-ahead goal in his second shift back from that collision, Backes gave the Bruins a huge spark on a night where Brad Marchand took the league lead in goals – and tied Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane for first in points – and David Pastrnak notched his first career 30-goal season. Backes told reporters that he should be good to go tonight and should slot back in with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron to start the contest.
– Leading the league in points is usually a good omen towards one’s chances at the Hart Trophy. Tonight, two MVP candidates McDavid and Marchand will be front and center. In a year where the likes of Kane, Sidney Crosby, Brent Burns and Nicklas Backstrom are all making their own case to be named as this year’s MVP, both McDavid and Marchand will look to separate themselves from the pack in this star-studded showdown.