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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Boston Bruins

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Still atop the Pacific, the Injury riddled Oilers are back home to face the tops of the Atlantic

Boston Bruins v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (32-21-6) 1st, Pacific vs

Boston Bruins (37-11-12) 1st, Atlantic

19 February 2020

Rogers Place

630 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Stanley Cup of Chowder

The Oilers are getting it done without Connor McDavid and a handful of regulars. Tonight, they’ll have to get it done without Connor McDavid, those regulars, and Oscar Klefbom, who will be out for at least a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury. They host a Bruins team who has a one point lead on Tampa in the Atlantic, and a fifteen point lead on Toronto. Can the Oilers pick up two more points in their quest for the playoffs?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

We try not to make (three games in four days) as an excuse. We take that as a challenge in here. We like playing in those games where people might count us out a little. We’re a team that wants to show the hockey world that we’re a great group in here.

Source

That’s Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl after Edmonton’s thrilling 4-3 OT win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.

The Oilers took four points on a weekend back-to-back. Leon Draisaitl had the primary assist on the overtime goal (along with the club’s first goal in the first period). Draisaitl set up Josh Archibald for the OT winner. The goal was Archibald’s second of the game.

THE BRUINS ARE SAYING

We just try to take it one game at a time. That’s all you can do. … We just focus on ourselves. I think if we do that, we play the right way, we’ll end up where we want to be.”

Source

That’s Bruins forward Charlie Coyle on his club’s 3-1 win over the Rangers on Sunday.

Coyle scored the game winner for the Bruins while shorthanded. The Bruins have won nine of their last ten.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

Take a few words from Gazzola here. “Couple setbacks” for Neal leads me to believe he’s not coming back anytime soon. “Not close” for Kris Russell. Is LTIR in the future for any of these guys?

  • It’s not easy when the best player in the world is missing from your lineup while recovering from a quad injury. Add a few more players like James Neal and Zack Kassian, and the list begins to get crowded. Adding Oscar Klefbom to the injured list makes it even that much more difficult for the Oilers, but here we are. It’s another season with an Oscar Klefbom Shoulder Injury™, this one’s expected to last a couple of weeks. The Oilers could call up another defenceman, but William Lagesson is likely a short-term fix for now.
  • Since New Year’s Eve, Kailer Yamamoto has eighteen points (9-9-18) in eighteen games. League leader Leon Draisaitl has gone 12-22-34 since Yamamoto’s call up. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has put up 8-16-24 over that time. The Oilers are getting maximum value from this trio, they’ll need it to continue.
  • The Bruins have won nine of their last ten. They’re 7th overall in goals per game, but they’re the best in the league when it comes to keeping them out (2.32 GAA). It’s a little bit of an extra challenge tonight for the Oilers, who are missing an entire line up front.
  • Boston hasn’t had any trouble putting the puck in the net, they’ve got one of the most explosive trios up front with Brad Marchand (23-51-74), David Pastrnak (42-40-82) and Patrice Bergeron (24-26-50). The Oilers will need all hands on deck with these guys out on the ice.
  • NET GAINS: The Bruins are likely to go with Tuukka Rask in net tonight (22-5-6, .931 SV% / 2.07 GAA / 3 SO). With the Minnesota Wild coming up on Friday, I’d go with Mikko Koskinen tonight (16-11-2, .911 SV% / 2.85 GAA / 1 SO) and opt for Mike Smith (16-10-4, .904 SV% / 2.93 GAA / 1 SO) in a couple days. Let’s see what Tippett goes for.
  • SICK BAY: Get your pencils out. The OIlers are without Connor McDavid (quad), James Neal (foot), Oscar Klefbom (shoulder), Zack Kassian (suspension), Joakim Nygard (hand) and Kris Russell (concussion).
  • STANDINGS: Right this very minute, the Oilers are in first place in the Pacific (70 points, two games in hand). The Golden Knights are right behind them at 70 points, but they’ve played two more games. Vancouver is right behind both of these teams with 69 points, while Calgary is knocking on the door at 68 points. Can the Oilers keep setting the pace with a win tonight versus Boston?