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Bruins go for four in a row vs. division-leading Oilers

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Bruins go for four in a row vs. division-leading Oilers
Edmonton Oilers vs. Boston Bruins
OILERS (9-3-2) at BRUINS (6-7-0)


Last 10:
Edmonton 7-2-1; Boston 5-5-0

Season Series:
First and only meeting. Last year, the Bruins went into Edmonton and earned a 3-2 victory on Feb. 27.

Big Story: Back in the days of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Cam Neely and Ray Bourque, this was a Stanley Cup Final matchup in 1988 and 1990 -- Edmonton prevailing both times for the final championships in their run as a dynasty. Boston returned to its glory days by winning the Cup last spring, but entering this matchup it's the visiting Oilers who are division leaders, sparked by a strong young nucleus and a white-hot veteran goaltender.

Team Scope:

Oilers: They've been called a lot of things in recent years, but "best defensive team" in hockey certainly hasn't been one of them.

The Oilers have allowed a League-low 21 goals in 14 games, and it's thanks largely to the outstanding play of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. After stopping 28 of 29 shots in 3-1 win against the Canadiens on Tuesday, he is 7-0-2 with an 0.98 goals-against average and .964 save percentage.

"Great goaltending gave us a chance," said veteran forward Ryan Smyth, who took over the team lead with his seventh goal on an empty-netter in the final minute. "(Khabibulin) has been playing superb all year and we played tight in the first period and in the second we loosened up a bit. In the third they had some chances but we found a way to hold on. It was a good road win."

Bruins: It may be time to put away the aspirin because it appears the hangover has gone away.

After beating the Islanders 6-2 on Monday, the Bruins are in the midst of a three-game winning streak. Nathan Horton and David Krejci had 3 points apiece, and the Bruins look like they've found their hunger after a lackluster first month.

"It definitely makes you stronger," said Horton, when asked after the game about emerging from his doldrums. "The tough times are not easy, but tonight I felt better. It makes you feel better getting points and feeling good out there. I still want work on my game and keep getting better and do anything I can to help my team."

Who's Hot:
Edmonton's Ryan Smyth has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last five games. … Boston's Tyler Seguin is looking like a player set to break out in his second year. He has 5 goals and 1 assist in his last four games.

Injury Report:
Defenseman Ryan Whitney (knee) is out. … Boston's Daniel Paille has a broken nose and facial lacerations after absorbing the full weight of a Steve Staios slap shot Monday. Rich Peverley missed the Islanders game with an undisclosed ailment.

Stat Pack:
A big reason for the Oilers' terrific start defensively has been its dominance on the penalty kill. They rank fourth at 89.3 percent, giving up just 6 goals on 56 chances. … Boston's power play has been middling, but it's 3-for-10 over this three-game winning streak.

Puck Drop:
"Yeah, the sooner the better, right?" -- Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, after beating the Islanders to get his first win of the season

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Nov 10 '11 EDM 3 at BOS 6 T. Seguin
R. Smyth159716+42722
R. Nugent-Hopkins157613+2621
J. Eberle153811+2212
T. Hall143710+21021
S. Horcoff15268+2010
C. Potter13268+0410
R. Jones15336+2400
T. Gilbert15235-3211
A. Hemsky4044+2000
L. Petrell14112-1200
T. Peckham11112+31700
E. Belanger15022+11000
S. Gagner9022+1200
C. Barker12101+31410
A. Sutton10101+03101
A. Lander15011-2400
M. Paajarvi13011+0000
B. Eager12011-12300
J. Petry8011+6400
C. Teubert2011+1000
A. Plante1011+1000
L. Smid15000+01200
L. Omark5000-2200
R. Whitney4000+0000
D. Hordichuk3000+0000
N. Khabibulin97-0-292470.98.964
D. Dubnyk62-4-0171862.83.909
T. Seguin149817+11613
M. Lucic148614+62220
P. Bergeron143811+6610
N. Horton144610+02620
Z. Chara141910+63110
B. Marchand14459+63120
D. Krejci11358-2200
C. Kelly14347+61101
R. Peverley12347-1210
J. Corvo14077+1200
A. Ference14055+3400
J. Boychuk14224+41201
D. Seidenberg14033+01200
D. Paille13202-1001
G. Campbell14112-12800
J. Caron9112+0400
S. Thornton14022-22200
A. McQuaid9022+2700
B. Pouliot10101-2400
S. Kampfer2011+2000
Z. Hamill1011+2000
M. Bartkowski3000-2000
T. Thomas105-4-0182612.00.931
T. Rask52-3-0131412.63.908