Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Oilers
What type of response will the Bruins have after arguably their worst performance of the season on Monday night against the Devils to kick off 2017? Will they be able to show what they’re capable of for 60 minutes? Or will they come out flat again against an improved and talented Oilers squad tonight at TD Garden.
Even after their ugly 3-0 loss against the Devils, the B’s didn’t lose ground in the Atlantic Division standings. They still have a chance to surpass the Ottawa Senators for second place in the division with one point tonight.
With every divisional team having at least one game in hand, the Bruins can ill afford to leave more points on the table. A B’s regulation loss tonight and a Tampa Bay win over Nashville would put the Lightning in that third spot in the Atlantic. The Maple Leafs, who will have four games in hand on the Black and Gold following tonight, could move up to third place with a win on Friday in New Jersey combined with a Boston regulation loss and a Bolts loss to the Preds in regulation or overtime.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 20-16-4 (44 points), Oilers 19-13-7 (45 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Frank Vatrano
Tim Schaller-Austin Czarnik-Riley Nash
Anton Blidh-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
Oilers projected lines
Patrick Marron-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisitl
Milan Lucic-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot-Drake Caggiula-Jordan Eberle
Anton Lander-Mark Letestu-Jesse Puljujarvi
Andrej Sekera-Matt Benning
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Kris Russell-Eric Gryba
Schmidt’s No. 15 is painted on both ends of the Garden ice. His banner is also at half-mast. pic.twitter.com/s2J9eT8Vmm
— Bruins Daily (@BruinsDaily) January 5, 2017
– While no formal announcement has been made yet, a few things are already in place to honor the late, great Milt Schmidt, who passed away yesterday at the age of 98. Schmidt’s number 15 was painted behind the net on both ends and his banner hanging from the rafters is at half-mast. For fans who are typically late arriving, they may want to show up a little early tonight to pay one last tribute to the legendary Bruin and even better person.
– Despite practicing with the team for the past two days after suffering a concussion exactly one week ago in Buffalo, David Backes will wait at least one more game to return to the Bruins’ lineup. Barring any setback, the former Blues captain should accompany the team on their upcoming four-game road trip that also includes a return to St. Louis.
– In another roster development on Thursday, Anton Khudobin went unclaimed on waivers. At least for the time being, he’ll remain a backup to Tuukka Rask but a Zane McIntyre callup seems to be on the horizon.
– The Bruins will get their very first look at Connor McDavid, who is tied with Evgeni Malkin for first in the league in points with 43. The first overall pick in the 2015 draft missed both games against the Black and Gold last year due to a fractured collarbone, but hasn’t missed a beat since returning to the Oilers back in February. In 84 career games, the Oilers captain is already within reach of 100 career points with 91 in his first year and a half. Though he only has five points in his last ten games, it’s only a matter of time until he gets his 100 career points.
– For the second time since being traded to the Kings on Draft Day in 2015, Milan Lucic will take to the Garden ice. Following his one year in Los Angeles, Lucic signed a seven-year contract with the Oilers in the offseason. The Vancouver native and former Bruin has 26 points in 39 games and has been a consistent presence on the Oilers’ top two lines. The first game against Lucic was one the Bruins wanted to forget – a 9-2 drubbing from the Kings – and hope the second time around against their ex-teammate is more friendly to them.