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Preview: Bruins at Oilers

NHL co-scoring leaders Brad Marchand, Connor McDavid go head to head

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

BRUINS (38-26-6) at OILERS (36-24-9) 

9 p.m. ET; SNW, NESN, NHL.TV


Bruins team scope

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who leads the NHL with 36 goals, will go up against Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, who is tied for the League lead with Marchand and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane with 76 points. "I think right now, the team is having success and we're all playing well as a group and when that happens, everyone benefits from that," Marchand said. "Hopefully, we can all continue to play the same way." Marchand had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, and has 19 goals in his past 20 games. Forward David Backes is expected to be in the lineup after going into the boards heavily in Calgary. Backes left the game in the first period but returned in the second and scored the winning goal. "I feel fortunate, I know that wasn't a light, little collision with the wall," Backes said. "The wall wasn't moving much for me." The Bruins are looking to extend their winning streak to five games in the third of a four-game road trip. Boston is 12-3-0 since Bruce Cassidy was named coach on Feb. 7, replacing Claude Julien. The Bruins are third in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the Ottawa Senators and four behind the Montreal Canadiens.

Oilers team scope

The Oilers have an opportunity to move into third place in the Pacific Division with a win. They hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference and are one point behind the Flames. Edmonton ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. McDavid scored to maintain a share of the League scoring lead. "It was nice that the guys can feel good about that win coming in," McDavid said. "The guys are feeling pretty good about themselves and the guys have a lot of confidence going in against Boston." The Oilers are playing the sixth of a season-long eight-game homestand. They defeated the Bruins 4-3 at TD Garden on Jan. 5. "Of all the teams we're playing on this homestand, they're perhaps playing the best or most consistent hockey coming in," coach Todd McLellan said. "It doesn't mean they're the best team, but they're playing extremely well." Edmonton is leery of being too complacent against Boston after its win against Dallas. "To me there is a little bit of a concern because of the 7-1 game," forward Mark Letestu said. "Yeah, it was great to have the offense, but sometimes in those kind of games, your habits and some things start to slip because of the way the game was. I think our start is real important, especially with them on the second game of a back to back."


Bruins projected lineup 

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Backes

Drew Stafford -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano -- Ryan Spooner -- Jimmy Hayes

Matt Beleskey -- Dominic Moore -- Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

Colin Miller -- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: John-Michael Liles, Austin Czarnik, Joe Morrow, Peter Cehlarik

Injured: Tim Schaller (lower body)


Oilers projected lineup 

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Drake Caggiula -- Mark Letestu -- Anton Slepyshev

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Iiro Pakarinen, Matt Hendricks, Jujhar Khaira

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (knee)


Status report

The Bruins will not make any changes to the lineup that won in Calgary with the exception of Rask. … Caggiula will return to the Oilers lineup after sitting out the past three games. He will replace Hendricks on the fourth line … Talbot will make his League-leading 63rd start. 


Who's hot

Marchand has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in his past five games. … Pastrnak is on a 10-game point streak (five goals, nine assists). … Bergeron has four assists in his past three games. … McDavid has two goals in his past three games. … Draisaitl has three assists in his past three games.

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