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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Bruins

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

After falling in a disappointing 5-0 defeat Friday night against the St. Louis Blues, the Oilers were looking to establish a solid offensive game in the team's search for a rebound result. Although the Oilers got things rolling early courtesy of an Ales Hemsky goal at 1:05 of the opening period, Boston would take over from that point and impose their will on the emotionally stubborn hometown club.

The Bruins would score twice in the first period, before netting a third in the waning moments of the second. Gilbert Brule looked to get his club back in contention with an early third period marker, but the hill was too steep to climb and Edmonton suffered its second consecutive defeat in a 3-2 loss to Boston.

Devan Dubnyk again started in goal for the Oilers, this time embarking a much more successful outing despite the loss, making 37 saves on the 40 Bruins shots he faced.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

Although Boston was leading 2-1 near the end of the second period, the game was still very much in reach for the home side. Shot disprepancy aside, the Oilers continued to press in search for the equalizer; but a demoralizing goal by the Bruins late in the frame ultimately sealed victory for the visitors. At the 19:08 point of the second, Michael Ryder collected a loose puck at the side of the net before roofing a shot over a sprawling and outstretched Devan Dubnyk to put his club ahead 3-1. The Oilers would add a goal in the third to bring things closer, but the two-goal deficit was too steep in the end.

42 The Oilers were victorious on only 42-percent of the draws tonight, with Shawn Horcoff and Gilbert Brule registering the best totals; each recording a 50-percent outing.
37 The committment to physical play was certainly one of the evening's highlights. In total, the Oilers accumulated a season-high 37 hits.
24 Puck management was an issue for the home side tonight, as the Oilers committed a disappointing total of 24 giveaways throughout the evening.
61 Forever linked in history, Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall squared off for the first time in the NHL tonight. Hall has scored 40 points this season to Seguin's 21, giving them a combined total of 61 on the season; an impressive statistic for two highly-skilled players.

Michael Ryder
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 3

Gilbert Brule
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 1

Nathan Horton
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 5

Tuukka Rask
17 15 2 60:00 .882

Devan Dubnyk
40 37 3 58:40 .925

Zdeno Chara - D

24:07 - 0P, E rating

Tom Gilbert - D

25:50 - 0P, -1 rating

Gilbert Brule made his triumphant return to the lineup tonight after missing nearly two months of action. In doing so, he notched his seventh goal of the season in the third period with a play that he has used successfully many times before. After speeding down his off-wing, Brule stopped up, curling to inside to tee up a long-range slapper. The sudden change in direction and speed, combined with the bullet released from his stick, proved too much for Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to handle. The shot deflected off the far post and in to bring the Oilers within one, setting the stage for an exciting conclusion.

After enduring a tough night between the pipes Friday against St. Louis, Devan Dubnyk was looking for redemption this evening. At times, the rookie netminder fought the puck, but was quick to rebound and make the save when called upon. Boston would add three goals en route to victory, but Dubnyk's 37-save performance provided his team with the opportunity to engineer a comeback. Unfortunately the Oilers were unable to do so, but Dubnyk's strong play was certainly the rebound effort he was after.

It was clear from the drop of the puck that gritty forward Gilbert Brule was looking to make an impact in his first game back. Although his goal was certainly a positive to take from the night, his play away from the puck was what made his evening so special. The expected physical force was rampant, with Brule registering four hits on the night in only 11:11 of ice-time. In addition, he was able to record a 5-5, 50-percent outing in the faceoff dot on a night where the Oilers could only muster a 42-percent efficiency rate. Overall, a terrific return for number 67.

Although there were three to choose from, the early third period tussle between Jim Vandermeer and Milan Lucic was the main event of the night. After dropping the gloves, the bout was slow to begin. Both Lucic and Vandermeer were cautious, but that was a short-lived phenomenon. Vandermeer began chucking bombs and the Bruins forward had no reply for the onslaught. Once the linesmen stepped in, Vandermeer was the victor and the fans at Rexall Place rose to their feet, screaming in a deafening roar.

The Boston Bruins, who rarely visit western Canada (last visit to Rexall Place came on Oct. 27. 2008), have the largest contingent of Canadian players making up their forward group. Of the 15 forwards currently on the roster, all but one are Canadian. The only player not originally from Canada is David Krejci, who was born in Sternberk, Czech Republic.

"We were right there the whole game, I thought. They're a good team. We certainly did a lot of things to keep us in the game. They don't take penalties, so it's tough to get back in the game that way, but I thought we battled pretty hard."

Taylor Hall on the loss to Boston

Tuesday, March 1 vs. Nashville
  7:30pm MST (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

After suffering two conscutive losses to open up the team's four-game homestand, the Oilers will look for redemption when the Nashville Preators visit Rexall Place this Tuesday. Game-time is 7:30pm MST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet West.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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