Game Day Preview: Oilers at Bruins
Things are a little different from the last time the Bruins and Oilers met in Edmonton. For starters, former B’s General Manager Peter Chiarelli has seen his new team notch five wins in a row. The Black and Gold, meanwhile, find themselves in third place in the Atlantic Division and are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.
The Oilers notched a 3-2 shootout victory against the Bruins for their first win in their current five-game win streak. Tonight, the Black and Gold look to build off two impressive victories over the Canadiens and Panthers and put an end to Edmonton’s hot streak.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 16-9-3 (35 points), Oilers 13-15-2 (28 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo-Max Talbot-Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara-Adam McQuaid
Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Oilers projected lines
Taylor Hall-Leon Draisaitl-Teddy Purcell
Jujhar Kharia-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks-Mark Letestu-Lauri Korpikoski
Luke Gazdic-Anton Lander-Iiro Pakarinen
Darnell Nurse-Andrej Sekera
Oscar Klefbom-Justin Schultz
Brandon Davidson-Eric Gryba
Matchup to watch: Bruins vs. Oilers third line
In the first meeting 12 days ago, the Oilers third line — specifically the Letestu-Hendricks duo — scored twice. Hendricks, Letestu and Korpikoski frustrated the B’s third trio of Hayes, Spooner and Ferraro that night and head coach Claude Julien had to shake things up by switching some players around in the bottom six in hopes of getting a spark from his team.
Twelve days later, Hayes and Spooner will be joined by Vatrano on the third line. Sparked by Spooner’s two goals, the three are coming off a solid performance against the Panthers, and they’ll need to build off that against the Oilers checking line that outmuscled and outskated the Bruins’ bottom six in Edmonton. Otherwise, Julien will have to return to making some in-game adjustments with his line charts — something that has become the norm in Boston this season.
Storyline to watch: Chiarelli returns to TD Garden
Forced to part ways with some key veterans, including Johnny Boychuk, Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton (to name a few), and trading Tyler Seguin was just a sample of the ugly ending of Chiarelli’s tenure in Boston. Still, he had a remarkable nine years in The Hub and transformed the Bruins roster into a Stanley Cup champion in 2011, a Cup finalist in 2013 and a Presidents Trophy winner in 2014.
From acquiring Nathan Horton, Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Recchi, Andrew Ference and others, Chiarelli certainly played a big role in the Bruins’ success. But he also is partly responsible for last year’s downfall and, as a result, Cam Neely and the Jacobs family parted ways with Chiarelli and upgraded Don Sweeney from Assistant GM to GM.
Now the GM and President of Hockey Operations in Edmonton, Chiarelli is starting another rebuilding project. He has some talent in Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle and this year’s No. 1 pick Connor McDavid, who is still on IR with a fractured clavicle.
Whether the Bruins will honor Chiarelli with a tribute tonight is anyone’s guess. Despite the B’s and Chiarelli going their separate ways, the Harvard alum deserves to be recognized in his return to TD Garden.