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Bruins go for 9 in a row against Oilers

by John Kreiser /
BRUINS (35-17-9) at OILERS (20-34-8)

TV -- NESN (HD); SNET-Edmonton (HD)

Last 10 -- Boston 6-4-0; Edmonton 5-5-0

Season series -- It's the only meeting of the season between the teams, who haven't seen each other since the Bruins' 2-0 win in Boston on Oct. 31, 2009.

Big story -- The Bruins have become road warriors this season. They improved to 4-0-0 on their current six-game trip by beating the Canucks 3-1 in Vancouver on Saturday, three days after winning by the same score in Calgary. They'll go for the sweep of Western Canada in their first visit to Rexall Place since Oct. 27, 2008.

Team Scope:

Boston -- The Bruins were more than 3,000 miles from TD Garden on Saturday, but Vancouver native Milan Lucic was right at home -- he had the go-ahead goal and a pair of assists while playing in front of dozens of friends and family.

One night earlier, the Vancouver Giants, his junior team, honored him by giving out a Lucic bobblehead and putting his number into their Ring of Honor.

"It's almost like a dream come true," Lucic said of his big night. "You dream of things like this as a kid -- coming (to) your hometown and playing in the NHL. To be able to step up and play a game like this, and get a win and everything I went through this week -- it's really humbling."

Oilers -- The Oilers had been playing better in the last couple of weeks, but turned in a clunker on Friday as the St. Louis Blues beat them 5-0.

Coach Tom Renney wasn't happy with his team's performance, even though the Oilers outshot the Blues 39-22.

"There needed to be more passion and emotion and contact and we needed to drag ourselves into the game, and we had a little bit of a hard time doing that," he said. "It was a puzzling game. They scored on their opportunities -- and we let them walk in and do that -- and we couldn't capitalize on ours."

Who's hot -- Lucic has 5 points in the Bruins' last two games. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas has allowed one goal in the wins at Calgary and Vancouver. Backup Tuukka Rask, who figures to get the start, won the first two games on the trip.

Injury report -- Boston center Marc Savard is injured reserve and has been shut down for the season following his latest concussion. Defenseman Andrew Ference (lower-body injury) left Saturday's game in the first period. … Edmonton is without defenseman Taylor Chorney (knee); the Oilers' top blueliner, Ryan Whitney is gone for the season with ankle surgery. The Oilers expect to get forward Gilbert Brule back -- he's missed 27 of the last 30 games with an illness.

Stat pack -- Edmonton won two of its Stanley Cups at the Bruins' expense, but the Bruins have owned the Oil during the regular season. Boston has won the last eight meetings since the Oilers' 6-1 home win on Oct. 17, 2000. Boston is working on a three-game shutout streak against the Oilers and has an all-time regular-season mark of 40-17 with six ties against Edmonton.

Puck drop -- Lucic's teammates were conscious of Lucic's desire to have a big night in his home town. Thomas made a fantastic save in the final seconds after Patrice Bergeron's empty-netter to make sure Lucic was credited with the game-winner.

"It was really nice to see Lucic get that goal, and I wanted to make that hold up as the game winner so bad," Thomas said. "I m very happy to see him get the game-winner in his hometown, and hopefully that's a game he can look back on for a long time."

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