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GAME STORY: Oilers 4, Bruins 3

Patrick Maroon scores three as the Oilers down the Bruins 4-3 in Boston

by Ryan Frankson / EdmontonOilers.com

Video: OILERS TODAY | at Bruins Post-Game

BOSTON, MA - Patrick Maroon scored one goal per period to record his first career hat-trick as the Oilers snapped a mini two-game losing skid with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins.

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The Oilers next game is Saturday in New Jersey against the Devils at 5 p.m. MT. The game can be seen via Sportsnet or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.

Thursday's win was Edmonton's first of the regulation variety in Boston in a whopping 20 years (November 7, 1996). However, it was their second in a row as they snagged a shootout triumph last season.

On the strength of Maroon's three-goal game - Mariusz Czerkawski also had a hat-trick in the 1996 win - Edmonton captured its 20th win of the season, bumping the team's record up to 20-13-7.

"This is cool… this is pretty special for me," said the game's first star, Maroon, following his milestone performance. "I would have never, in a thousand years, imagined me getting a hat-trick in the NHL."

The Oilers were critical of their lack of competitiveness during Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they made sure to get off to a hot start on Thursday as Maroon scored just 68 seconds into the opening period.

Leon Draisaitl got the puck in the neutral zone and fed a pass to a streaking Connor McDavid, who burst in on the attack, deked around Bruins defender Zdeno Chara and skipped a perfect feed to Maroon on the doorstep to make it 1-0. 

Just 40 games into the season, Maroon tied his career high with his 12th tally. Thanks to the pretty helper, McDavid got his league-leading 30th assist of the year and moved back into sole possession of the NHL scoring lead with his 44th point.

Maroon's busy opening frame wasn't over yet, as he dropped the gloves with none other than beastly Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. There were a lot more clutches and grabs than punches thrown, though, as the two combatants headed off for five and Maroon was already two-thirds of the way to a Gordie Howe Hat Trick - even though he ended up with a traditional one instead.

For the second consecutive game, the Oilers surrendered their first goal against via a tough bounce off one of their own players. The Blue Jackets bounced a shot off both Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera to draw first blood on Tuesday, and at the 7:16 mark in Boston, Colin Miller's attempt ricocheted off Anton Lander and trickled just over the goal line past Cam Talbot to make it 1-1.

Bruins veteran Patrice Bergeron has had a slow start to the season, but he potted his eighth goal and 13th point just past the midway mark of the middle frame to put the home team up 2-1. Budding young star David Pastrnak got the puck on the wall and found Bergeron all alone in the slot for a wrister past Talbot.

The Bruins lead didn't last long, however, as Maroon struck again for his second of the night just 2:26 later. Eric Gryba fired a puck on net from the point and it got tied up in front, but Maroon pounced on the rebound, spun around and slid a shot underneath the pads of Tuuka Rask for his new career-high 13th of the campaign.

McDavid drew the second assist on the equalizer to move two points (45) ahead of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for the NHL scoring lead.

The Oilers needed just 14 seconds to take the lead in the third period as former Boston-based Northeastern University Huskies d-man Matt Benning fired a shot on net that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins knocked past Rask to make it a 3-2 game. The go-ahead goal was RNH's 13th of the season and 19th point, while the rookie Benning nabbed his seventh NHL point with the lone assist.

Maroon saved his best goal for last midway through the third period as he corralled a loose puck in the offensive zone and deked around Rask to put the Oilers up by a pair and secure his first hat-trick in his 260th NHL game. The eventual game-winner was his 14th of the season, further extending his ever-growing career-best total.

"Hats off to my linemates," Maroon said of McDavid and Draisaitl. "They're all-around good players, and without those guys keeping pucks alive and making the good plays, those goals don't go in."

With both Gryba and Benoit Pouliot in the penalty box, the Bruins had a two-man advantage for 62 seconds with 3:56 to go in the third. Just as Gryba's penalty expired, David Krejci buried a rebound to cut the Oilers lead to 4-3, but the visitors shut the door from there, Cam Talbot made 33 saves and the buzzer sounded to conclude the hard-fought win.

"For the first two periods, it was a different game," said Talbot, who made his 36th start (most in the NHL) and recorded his 19th win. "But in the third we came out, established the first shift and got pucks to the net like we wanted to. Nuge drove the net hard and got a big goal for us. Then, after that, we got in on the forecheck, Patty strips the puck and goes in for the hat-trick. A couple big goals in the third turned the tide for us."

The Oilers will spend the night in Boston before flying to New Jersey on Friday ahead of Saturday's matchup with Taylor Hall and the Devils.

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