Game Day preview: Bruins vs. Oilers
The Boston Bruins will look for their fourth straight victory Thursday night as the Edmonton Oilers come to town.
It has been a nice little stretch for the Black and Gold taking care of Buffalo, Ottawa and Florida within the last week to climb the standings in the Eastern Conference and it gets easier. The Oilers sit in last place in the Western Conference with nine points and haven’t won a game on the road during the 2014-15 season (0-3-1).
It could’ve been another homecoming for Andrew Ference, but he was suspended three games for an illegal check to the head and will not be in uniform.
This is another perfect time for the B’s to gain another two points in the standings as their defense, along with David Krejci, nurse back to health.
Here is your complete Bruins-Oilers preview:
Gametime: 7:00 PM
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 8-6-0, 16 points/Oilers 4-7-1, 9 points
Location: TD Garden
Bruins’ projected lines:
Milan Lucic-Chris Kelly-Seth Griffith
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Simon Gagne
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Joe Morrow-Adam McQuaid
David Warsofsky-Zach Trotman
Oilers’ projected lines:
Benoit Pouliot-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Teddy Purcell-Mark Arcobello-David Perron
Matt Hendricks-Boyd Gordon-Jesse Joensuu
Will Acton-Leon Draisaitl-Nail Yakupov
Nikita Nikitin-Justin Schultz
Oscar Klefbom-Mark Fayne
Martin Marincin-Jeff Petry
Who to watch for Bruins: Patrice Bergeron
It seems as if the worries about Patrice Bergeron’s slow start were exaggerated. He looks like he is finding his groove during an important stretch for the Bruins. He scored against Shawn Thornton and the Panthers Tuesday night, and against Ottawa he had an assist to go along with a plus-2 rating. His faceoff percentages are beginning to rise and his line is starting to find that chemistry again as Brad Marchand continues to light the lamp at an aggressive clip.
Bergeron now ranks fourth on the team in points with eight (two goals, six assists) while leading the team with 39 shots in the team’s first 14 games. The 29 year-old will need to lead his line and his team with Zdeno Chara out of the lineup and Bergeron is off to a great start.
There is a lot of talk about Marchand’s recent success, but everybody knows Bergeron is the straw that stirs the drink for the Black and Gold.
Who to watch for Oilers: Jordan Eberle
For a guy who’s been surrounded by trade rumors, Jordan Eberle is keeping his cool. The Oilers’ 2008 first round pick leads his team in scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 11 games. Without question, the young Bruins’ D will need to keep an eye on him throughout the night.
Eberle has been a part of the Oilers rebuilding process for the last five years and is one of the leagues most exciting players. How much longer will Eberle be a part of that phase? That remains to be seen, but Bruins fans will be entertained by Eberle’s presence tonight.
Game day Edge: Keep the momentum going against the lowly Oilers
Although the Bruins didn’t bring their best against the Panthers on Tuesday night, they still were blocking shots and playing well along the boards to record the two points they needed in overtime.
The Oilers rank last in the Western Conference in many categories including goal differential with a -13. The Bruins must add to that total by getting off to a fast start. Against the Panthers, the Black and Gold committed one too many turnovers to start the game which led to an early deficit. That can’t happen two nights in a row.
This is a game where the B’s must show consistency from all four lines and their defensive pairings. Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with the play of his fourth liners Tuesday night. We’ll see if that lights a fire under them and the team can get production from all four lines and tally two points.