Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Oilers
It’s another hockey night in Boston as the Bruins eye their third consecutive victory since their season-opening shellacking at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
The difference between that 7-0 loss in D.C. and their last two victories against the Sabres and Senators was night and day. Though they still have some areas to address, the B’s effort and execution was significantly better in their pair of Atlantic Division contests.
Thursday’s opponents, the Edmonton Oilers, were last year’s preseason darlings as potential Cup favorites. But their disappointing 2017-18 campaign and their season-opening 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Sweden have dampened that optimism despite having an all-world standout in Connor McDavid.
Thus, Oilers coach Todd McLellan treating this as a pivotal matchup.
"There's a number of players that are on notice… Tonight would be a good night to establish yourself in the lineup as a consistent player." Coach McLellan on opportunities for redemption following the #Oilers opener
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 11, 2018
A strong statement indeed from a coach feeling the heat. The former Sharks bench boss would like nothing more than to cool down his hot seat this evening.
The Bruins, meanwhile, have a few changes of their own against former teammate Milan Lucic and company. More on that in the storylines…
Gametime: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 2-1-0 (4 points), Oilers 0-1-0 (0 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Joakim Nordstrom
Danton Heinen-David Backes-Anders Bjork
Chris Wagner-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
John Moore-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Oilers projected lines
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Connor McDavid-Ty Rattie
Milan Lucic-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto
Tobias Reider-Ryan Strome-Zack Kassian
Drake Cagguila-Jujhar Kharia-Jesse Puljujarvi
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse-Kris Russell
Matt Benning-Evan Bouchard
– The revolving second line door at right wing continues. Joakim Nordstrom becomes the third Bruin to skate with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci as Ryan Donato will sit and watch from the press box. Despite a goal in three games, the former Harvard standout hasn’t been as consistent in the early going. Both DeBrusk and Danton Heinen — who skated on Line 2 in the season opener — bounced back after early healthy scratches last year. Will the same hold true for Donato?
– Another odd October schedule is creating challenges for Bruce Cassidy’s goaltending plan. The third-year Bruins bench boss will slot Jaroslav Halak for his second start of the season. The ‘former’ Sabres netminder couldn’t have asked for a better start in his seventh NHL stop after his 32-save shutout in Buffalo a week ago. Though Tuukka Rask bounced back with a solid effort against the Sens on Monday, going with Halak is the right call here, especially with the Western Canada trip coming up.