OILERS (4-7-1) at BRUINS (8-6-0)
TV: SN360, TVA2, NESN
BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center David Krejci's status for the game against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday is still up in the air.
Krejci took part in an optional morning skate at TD Garden, but coach Claude Julien did not know if Krejci would be able to take warm-ups.
"We'll see after he gets off there. If he does [take the warm-up] there's a chance he'll play obviously," Julien said.
Krejci has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. The Bruins have not only made do without Krejci lately but also have missed defensemen Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug. In place of the three defensemen, recent American Hockey League call-ups Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow have filled in admirably. The Bruins have won three in a row and are 4-1-0 since Chara was injured.
Julien isn't surprised by the Bruins defense depth, partly because the Bruins similarly fared well without injured Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid for much of last season.
"Well that's the second year in a row that we've been challenged in that area. We talked about it at the beginning of training camp. We had a bunch of defensemen here that we really felt could play in the League and could be, at least, depth players at worst," Julien said. "That's what we've been challenged with right now. We had those injuries, those guys stepped in and done a pretty good job. I'd say we knew [about them] and right now it's just a matter of them proving us right up to date."
The Oilers have lost three straight and aren't sympathetic to the Bruins plight.
"We're not going to feel sorry for them. We're missing our best player [injured forward Taylor Hall] and our captain [suspended defenseman Andrew Ference]," coach Dallas Eakins said. "So there's no tears over here for the Boston Bruins. They're going to be extremely tough. This is a team that's well-coached, they've got grit, they've got experience and they've won a lot of hockey over the years. So we know that this is going to be a terribly hard night and a game that a key moment in the game will swing this game one way or another."
Forward Iiro Pakarinen is scheduled to make his NHL debut for the Oilers. The 23-year-old was called up from Oklahoma City of the AHL early Thursday.
"The reports have been great," Eakins said. "He's a real pro, has really come to work every day in practice. I guess his work ethic in practice has been at a level 10. He can bring some feistiness and some grit, which we always like here. And he can also finish. So we'll see how he fits in. I'm sure he's going to have some nerves, but it's not like he's a 19-year-old kid. He's got a few years under his belt and we're hopeful he'll give us a good game."
Here are the projected lineups:
Benoit Pouliot – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Iiro Pakarinen – Mark Arcobello – David Perron
Teddy Purcell – Leon Draisaitl – Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks – Boyd Gordon – Jesse Joensuu
Nikita Nikitin – Justin Schultz
Jeff Petry – Keith Aulie
Mark Fayne – Oscar Klefbom
Injured: Taylor Hall (knee)
Suspended: Andrew Ference
Milan Lucic – Chris Kelly – Seth Griffith
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser – Carl Soderberg – Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Simon Gagne
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Joe Morrow – Adam McQuaid
David Warsofsky – Zach Trotman
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski
Injured: David Krejci (undisclosed), Zdeno Chara (knee), Kevan Miller (shoulder), Torey Krug (finger)
Status report: Forward Will Acton cleared waivers, according to Eakins, and has been assigned to Oklahoma City. Defenseman Martin Marincin has also been assigned. … Aulie, a veteran of 136 NHL games, will make his season debut. … Lucic is scheduled to play his 500th NHL game. … The Bruins did not announce their starting goaltender. Rask did not face the Oilers last season.
Who's hot: Eberle has one goal and two assists during a three-game point streak. … Nugent-Hopkins has one point in six of the past seven games and four goals and two assists in that span. … Marchand has four goals in the past three games. … The Bruins are 8-0-0 with one tie in the past nine Boston-Edmonton games played at the Garden dating to 1996.