Boston comes in on the heels of a 2-1 loss to New Jersey on Thursday, and Edmonton enters after a 6-5 shootout win over Detroit. Both teams are looking to string some consistent efforts together — and in the Bruins’ case, get some bounces as well.
“I thought we played well enough to give ourselves a chance to win,” head coach Claude Julien said after the team’s loss to the Devils. “This is one of those nights throughout the course of a season where you lose a hockey game only because the other team got one extra bounce going their way.”
Saturday’s game should be entertaining, and a little more wide open than what we saw on Thursday night, as the Oilers like to play a run-and-gun style.
When And WhereSaturday, Oct. 31, 1 p.m. ET (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
RecordsBruins (5-5-1), 11 points, fourth in Northeast Division, tied for eighth in Eastern Conference
Oilers (7-5-1), 15 points, tied for second in Northwest Division, tied for seventh in Western Conference
Head to HeadThis is the first and only meeting of the season between the Bruins and Oilers.
Last season, the Bruins beat the Oilers 1-0 in overtime. Dennis Wideman scored the winner 3:18 into the extra frame, and Tim Thomas earned his eighth career shutout with 27 saves.
The Bruins and Oilers met in the 1988 and 1990 Stanley Cup Finals, with the Oilers winning the ’88 series 4-0 and the ’90 series 4-1.
The Bruins lead the lifetime series 39-17-6-0.
SkinnyThe Bruins are still searching for consistency in the wins department. Since a 4-1 season-opening loss to Washington, Boston still hasn’t won or lost two games in a row, winning one then losing one to get to the 5-5-1 record it has now. However, the Bruins’ effort has been more consistent lately, and that has built confidence.
“All along, I thought we had a chance to win,” goaltender Tim Thomas said after Boston’s hard-fought loss to New Jersey. “I guess that’s confidence-building. But confidence can only take you so far.”
On Saturday, the B’s look to convert that confidence into a win and hopefully carry it through to Sunday, when they play the Rangers in a 1 p.m. matinee at Madison Square Garden.
The Oilers have had no problem with streaks — but the only problem is they have had losing streaks as well. Heading into their 6-5 shootout win over the Red Wings on Thursday, Edmonton lost three straight after winning three straight. The Oilers are 4-3-0 in their last seven games.
Edmonton is also looking for a consistent 60-minute effort after blowing a 5-1 lead on Thursday.
“We have to learn a lesson from this game,” defenseman Ladislav Smid said after his team’s 6-5 shootout win over Detroit. “We can’t play like that. When we’re up four goals, we have to keep playing. We played pretty good hockey for two periods. I don’t know what happened. I guess you could say we got scared to win.”
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Mark Recchi
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Vladimir Sobotka/Trent Whitfield–Blake Wheeler
Shawn Thornton–Steve Begin–Byron Bitz
Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Andrew Ference–Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart–Matt Hunwick
Dustin Penner–Shawn Horcoff–Ales Hemsky
Robert Nilsson–Sam Gagner–Andrew Cogliano
JF Jacques–Gilbert Brule–Patrick O’Sullivan.
Ethan Moreau–Zack Stortini–Steve MacIntyre
Tom Gilbert–Denis Grebeshkov
Ladislav Smid–Jason Strudwick
Taylor Chorney–Theo Peckham
Tim Thomas is 4-4-0 with a 2.86 GAA and a .906 saves percentage. Thomas has one shutout this season.
Tuukka Rask is 1-1-1 with a 3.17 GAA and an .899 saves percentage.
Nikolai Khabibulin is 6-4-1 with a 3.22 GAA and a .904 saves percentage.
Jeff Deslauriers is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA and a .957 saves percentage.
Forward Patrice Bergeron (four goals, four assists) has two goals and one assist in his last four games, leading the team in points with eight. Bergeron is also tied with injured center Marc Savard for the team lead in goals.
Forward Marco Sturm (two goals, five assists), defenseman Derek Morris (one goal, six assists) and Savard (four goals, three assists) are tied for second in team scoring with seven points each.
Sturm has a three-game points streak, with three assists during that span.
Morris has a goal and two assists in his last three games.
Defenseman Zdeno Chara leads the blue line in scoring with six assists and six points. Chara has three helpers in his last four games. Chara and Morris are tied for the team lead in assists.
The Bruins have been outscored 33-29 in their first 10 games.
The Bruins are averaging 2.64 goals per game and are allowing three goals per game.
The Bruins’ power play is now 6-for-42 on the season. The unit is scoring at a 15.4 percent clip on the man advantage.
The Bruins have not allowed a power-play goal in their last four games and killed off 10 straight power plays during that span. Boston has allowed 10 power-play goals on 42 opportunities and is now killing off opponents’ power plays at a 76.2 percent clip.
The Bruins are 2-3-0 against Western Conference teams.
Forward Dustin Penner leads the team in points with nine goals and 10 assists. Penner has 19 points in 13 games, already more than half of his total for all of last season (37 points).
Forward Ales Hemsky is second on the team in scoring with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Hemsky leads the team in assists.
Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov lead the defense in points and goals with three goals and five assists each.
Black and BlueBruins
Forward Marc Savard was placed on long-term injured reserve Oct. 21 with a broken left foot and will miss four to five more weeks.
Forward Milan Lucic was placed on long-term injured reserve on Oct. 18 and had successful surgery on a broken index finger. He is expected to miss four to five weeks.
Forward Marc Pouliot is on injured reserve and is expected to miss two months with a sports hernia and pubic bone inflammation.
Forward Fernando Pisani is on injured reserve with a back injury.
Forward Ryan Stone is out two to four weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery.
Defenseman Steve Staios is day-to-day after suffering a concussion Oct. 6.
Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, whose locker neighbor Ladislav Smid was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, is also out with the flu. He left in the middle of Tuesday’s game against Colorado and didn’t play on Thursday against Detroit. He is questionable for Saturday’s game.
Defenseman Sheldon Souray remains out with post-concussion syndrome after suffering a concussion on Oct. 8.
Forward Mike Comrie, who missed two games with the flu before returning to play against Colorado, has the flu again and is questionable for Saturday.
Overheard“[Chara] has been good, but can be better. He knows that. He’s been good, and there are some games where we’ve seen him be dominant like in the past. But we haven’t seen him be dominant night in, night out, like he has been. He’s frustrated a little bit too. You saw him working on his shots, and he’d like to get his shots through a little better.”
–Bruins head coach Claude Julien on captain Zdeno Chara’s inconsistent play thus far
Claude Julien wants the Big Z to get back to his game.
The Bruins are urging caution and respect on the ice.
The Oilers dressing room was hit with the H1N1 virus.
Ladislav Smid stepped up against the Red Wings on Thursday.
Here’s a great Oilers blog.
NHLPA interim director Ian Penny stepped down on Friday as the NHLPA shot down rumors it had shut down.
The defending Western Conference Champions are struggling this season.
Bruins fans may want to keep an eye on Tylor Seguin, a top prospect for the 2009 NHL entry draft.
The Avalanche are for real.
OutlookOnce again, the Bruins find themselves coming off a solid effort, but this time, it resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Devils. The key Saturday is to avoid letting frustration creep in and continue sticking to the game plan. That has been a strong point in Boston’s last four games. When the Bruins have faced adversity, they haven’t altered their game and just kept pushing. It won’t always result in a win, but chances are they will be in position to win if they do this every game.
The other key will be to get the power play going. The Bruins have successfully fixed their penalty kill, but they can’t seem to jump-start the power play. They must keep getting as many shots as they can and creating traffic in front for the booming shots from the point. If this area of the game gets going, chances are Boston will start its first win streak of the season.