The Edmonton Oilers have spent the last few years drafting at or near the top of the NHL draft. The result, as one might expect, is a solid core of young, high-end talent.
That talent has yet to equate winning for the Oilers, but it does produce some problems for opposing teams. The Bruins will be the latest team to try and slow down a very impressive group of top-six forwards for Edmonton.
The most impressive of the bunch this season has probably been Taylor Hall. The No. 1 pick in 2010 has 27 points in 25 games, which is tied for the team lead as are his 12 goals. Hall has been red-hot as of late. He had a goal and an assist in a shootout win over Carolina on Tuesday, and the 22-year-old has five goals in his last three games. He’s registered at least a point in nine of his last 11 games, and he has posted 7-8-15 totals over that time.
Among those top-six forwards, Edmonton actually has four players (Hall, Jordan Eberle, David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) who have at least 24 points this season. To put that in some sort of perspective, David Krejci (25 points) and Milan Lucic (24 points) are the Bruins’ top two scorers this season.
The Oilers’ main problem, however, remains keeping the puck out of their own net. No team in the Western Conference has allowed as many goals as Edmonton has, and only the New York Islanders have allowed more goals league-wide.
Below are the projected lines for Thursday’s Bruins-Oilers game.
Bruins (21-8-2, 44 points)
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith
Carl Soderberg — Ryan Spooner — Matt Fraser
Daniel Paille — Gregory Campbell — Nick Johnson
Zdeno Chara — Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg — Torey Krug
Matt Bartkowski — Kevan Miller
Oilers (11-18-3, 25 points)
David Perron — Ryan Nugent Hopkins — Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall — Sam Gagner — Nail Yakupov
Jesse Joensuu — Mark Arcobello — Ales Hemsky
Luke Gazdic — Anton Lander — Ryan Jones
Phillip Larsen — Andrew Ference
Nick Schultz — Justin Schultz
Anton Belov — Jeff Petry