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Bruins visit Oilers on five-game win streak

by Derek Van Diest

BRUINS (13-8-1) at OILERS (8-15-2)


EDMONTON -- The well-rested Boston Bruins look to extend their five-game winning streak against the struggling Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Wednesday.

Boston has not played since a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers on Friday. The Bruins arrived in Edmonton on Monday waiting for the Oilers to return from a season-long, five-game road trip.

"It's a little unusual to have this many days off during the season and I think we've done a good job practicing and trying to work on our game," Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said. "We also took a day off and came in here early to really get focused, and now it's just about getting back on the ice and in game mode, because they're going to come out hard."

The game against Edmonton is the first of a three-game Western Canada road trip for Boston, which has the second-best road record (8-2-0) in the Eastern Conference behind the Montreal Canadiens (9-2-1).

The Bruins play at the Calgary Flames on Friday and Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

"We've played well on the road," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think a lot of our home games were early in the season when we were still trying to find our game and we fell behind. We've won three in a row at home, so we're turning the corner there, but our road game is better and sometimes being away from home and not having to worry about putting on a show can help. I think we play a more disciplined, focused game on the road than we did at home at the beginning (of the season)."

Edmonton will be without right wing Benoit Pouliot (upper body) and could also be missing center Mark Letestu (undisclosed). Neither player took part in the morning skate.

The Oilers are still without center Connor McDavid, who is recovering from a broken clavicle, and right wing Nail Yakupov, out with an ankle sprain.

The Oilers lost four of five games on their recent road trip (1-3-1) and begin a five-game homestand.

"The sun came up today, we will play against a very good and hard team tonight, we got some rest yesterday and we expect a good effort from the group as a whole," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "That's our approach. We have some people that are missing in the lineup tonight, which means others have to step up and that's all we can do."

The Oilers have three wins in their past 12 games and are struggling to score. They were shut out twice on the road trip and managed seven goals in five games. On Monday they lost 3-0 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Garret Sparks made 25 saves to become the first goaltender in Maple Leafs history to record a shutout on his NHL debut.

"We had a chance to finish .500, which would have been something to look forward to, but we let that game [in Toronto] get away from us," Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle said. "Hockey is a great game and we have another chance to redeem ourselves against a great team. If we get a win today, we can turn everything around, just like that, that's how it works."

Goaltender Anders Nilsson will make his third consecutive start for Edmonton and seventh in the past eight games ahead of Cam Talbot. Rask will start for Boston.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Frank Vatrano

Matt Beleskey - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson

Ryan Spooner - Landon Ferraro - Jimmy Hayes

Zac RinaldoJoonas KemppainenBrett Connolly

Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman

Dennis Seidenberg - Colin Miller

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Jonas Gustavsson

Injured: Chris Kelly (leg), Kevan Miller (concussion), David Pastrnak (foot)

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Tyler Randell


Taylor HallLeon DraisaitlJordan Eberle

Iiro PakarinenRyan Nugent-HopkinsTeddy Purcell

Matt HendricksLauri KorpikoskiRob Klinkhammer

Luke GazdicAnton LanderJujhar Khaira

Darnell NurseAndrej Sekera

Oscar KlefbomMark Fayne

Eric GrybaJustin Schultz

Anders Nilsson

Cam Talbot

Injured: Connor McDavid (collarbone), Rob Klinkhammer (leg), Nail Yakupov (ankle), Benoit Pouliot (lower body), Mark Letestu (undisclosed)

Scratched: Andrew Ference, Brandon Davidson

Status report: Eberle is trying to get back on track after a difficult road trip, finishing without a point and with a minus-8 rating in five games. Eberle has three goals in 12 games since returning from a preseason shoulder injury. … Miller skated Wednesday morning, but may not be ready to return to the Bruins' lineup against the Oilers, according to Julien. Miller has missed the past five games with a concussion sustained Nov. 17 against the San Jose Sharks.

Who's hot: Marchand has four goals in Boston's five-game win streak. Bergeron has at least one point in nine of his past 10 games (four goals, seven assists). … Purcell has two assists in his past three games.

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