The Bruins were outplaying and outshooting the Oilers but had nothing to show for it. Then, Vladimir Sobotka and Blake Wheeler changed that in the span of five minutes.
Sobotka artfully found Wheeler in front of the net, and Wheeler banged home the game's first goal 2:47 into the third period. The players switched roles a few minutes later, with Sobotka on the receiving end of a pretty pass from Wheeler.
Tuukka Rask stood tall in net, and the Bruins were able to open their busy stretch of schedule with a solid win at home.
Bruins 2, Oilers 0
TD Bank Garden, Boston, Mass
Oct. 31, 2009
Headliner: One mental error from Tuukka Rask could have been disastrous for the Bruins on Saturday afternoon, but the 22-year-old was just about perfect.
Rask made 19 saves to earn his first shutout of the year and second in his career. No save was bigger than his stop on a Tom Gilbert slapper with two minutes remaining in the second. In keeping his team out of a deficit at the second intermission, the Bruins were able to jump out to the lead early in the third period and never look back.
In the final minute of the third, the game was well in hand, but Rask still had some work to do to maintain the shutout. Gilbert Brule snuck behind the Bruins' defense and fired a shot from close range, but Rask turned it aside to keep the Oilers off the board.
Grinder: On a day when nobody on either side could find the back of the net, Vladimir Sobotka and Blake Wheeler willed a pair of goals to get behind Nikolai Khabibulin.
Sobotka did his best Marc Savard impression on the first goal, flipping a backhanded feed from behind the net to the goalmouth, where Wheeler finished the job.
Wheeler, who was flying around the ice in the final period, weaved the perfect pass to Sobotka for the game's second and final goal.
Weak Link: The Oilers were very much in this game until the end, and they were on the man advantage with less than four minutes to go. They were then essentially done in by their own mistake, getting called for too many men on the ice. The final 52 seconds of their power play was now gone, and the Bruins had the luxury of their own power play to drain the clock.
Key Moment: A one-goal advantage is never enough for any team, so with a slim 1-0 lead seven minutes into the third, the Bruins got the insurance they needed.
Sobotka carried the puck into the offensive zone and hit Wheeler with a pass at the top of the opposite face-off circle. Wheeler held the puck just long enough for Sobotka to get his stick past the Edmonton defenseman, and Wheeler's pass was picture perfect, tipping off Sobotka's stick and into the net.
What's Next: The Bruins have no time to soak in the glory of this victory, hopping on a short flight to New York for another matinee on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers will be slightly more rested than the B's, after the Blueshirts lost 3-2 on Friday night in Minnesota. It will be the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Bruins this season.