Patrick Maroon's three goal performance was enough for the Oilers to overcome a couple of shifty periods en route to a 4-3 victory in Boston. Maroon had a goal in each period, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was credited with his eighth of the season just fourteen seconds into the third. The Oilers made it interesting late in the third when both Eric Gryba and Benoit Pouliot took penalties a minute apart. Boston was able to score a late one to bring the score to within one, but the Oilers would hold on long enough for a 4-3 victory. Cam Talbot earned his nineteenth victory of the year, and the Oilers would have their first regulation win in Boston since 1996. I think Blaine Lacher was the goalie then. Or Vincent Riendeau.
The Oilers are in New Jersey today to face the Devils. Wonder if they'll see anyone there they remember.
Let's go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
"He defends first, he's positionally sound, solid stick, but the physicality part of it is something that was underestimated by me. I didn't think he would be as aggressive as he's been. That's been a welcome addition to our back end."
That's Oilers coach Todd McLellan on what Adam Larsson has brought to the Oilers.
You've got to feel for Adam Larsson coming into a situation like he did. Had the Montreal Canadiens not sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber, the Hall / Larsson deal would easily have been the biggest trade of the 2016 offseason. Short of being Chris Pronger 2.0, Larsson would never live up to the hype.
To Larsson's credit, he's been an effective, real, live NHL defender. He's currently averaging 20:06 time on ice, good for fourth on the team. It's the difference between a right side that includes Eric Gryba more nights than not, and that's good for the Oilers.
The opponents are saying
"Definitely going to be weird...Super strange atmosphere for me."
That's Devils winger Taylor Hall on today's matchup against his former club.
Weird for you, weird for me. Hey, what do you know? Hall's missed a total of nine games for the Devils this year, but he still leads his club with 25 points (9-16-25). Travis Zajac trails Hall by just one point (8-16-24) in 39 games played.
Have some of this
I've beaten the Taylor Hall trade up more times than I care to ever go over any deal again. The facts: I'm glad the Oilers are currently in a playoff spot. Really, it's encouraging this time of year. To not see the Oilers fourteen points out of a playoff spot and getting ready to draft Nolan Patrick, it's great. Also facts: The Oilers miss Taylor Hall's production. A lot. He's going to get somewhere in the region of 70 points on a bad Devils club. I'm happy for Patrick Maroon, he's playing lights out on the top line right now for the Oilers. Shooting 17% will only help that. Maybe this is the year that Patrick Maroon scores 20 goals and 40 points, that'd be great. But let's not lose the light here; the Oilers acquired a real NHL defenceman in Adam Larsson, though one that's currently averaging fourth in TOI for a star player. Nothing is ever going to change that fact. It's the price you pay, or something.
EBERLE WATCH: Thirteen minutes of ice for Jordan Eberle on a third line with Benoit Pouliot and Drake Caggiula. I'm not sure where the club is at with Jordan Eberle, but let's be perfectly honest here: it's not like they can trade him because there's no one to play right wing if he goes. I mean, sure, you could put Draisaitl on the top line and keep Zack Kassian on the second line to play with 93. No, I'm not serious.
Two more assists for Connor McDavid give him 45 points and the scoring lead once again. It's Connor's world, we're just living in it.
IRON MAN STREAK SNAPPED - Devils captain Andy Greene will be missing from the lineup today as he's out with an upper body injury. Oilers catch a break here, as Greene is most used defenceman.
Cam Talbot still registers a pulse will likely once again go tonight for the Oilers (19-11-6, .919 SV% / 2.48 GAA / 3 SO). Keith Kinkaid is likely to go for the Devils on the second (4-4-2, .917 SV% / 2.74 GAA). I'd bet a nickel that you see Jonas Gustavsson tomorrow in Ottawa, for better or worse.
STANDINGS WATCH: Two big points for the Oilers on Thursday keep the Oilers firmly in third place in the Pacific. A win tonight would bring them to within one point of the division lead.
Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Tyler Pitlick (knee), and Darnell Nurse (lower body) will be out for the Oilers. Brandon Davidson will also be out for the second straight game with the flu. The Devils are without captain Andy Greene (upper body), Vern Fiddler (lower body), John Moore (lower body) and Jacob Josefson (ill)