The Bruins now have a 4 game winning streak, after defeating the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night, 6-3. Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins, starting back-to-back games for the 1st time this year. The Boston offense is officially tearing up the scoreboard, scoring 6, 7, 6, and 6 goals during their 4 game win streak. Devan Dubnyk was in net for the Oilers, in place of the NHL’s best goaltender thus far, Nikolai Khabibulin. The Bruins took advantage, as you can all tell by the final score. This game was also the epic showdown between the number 1 and 2 overall pick from a year ago. Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, and Tyler Seguin of your Boston Bruins. Seguin got the better of Hall, notching a goal and an assist with a 0 +/-, compared to Hall’s no goals, 1 assist, and -1 rating. Daniel Paille was out of action with the broken nose he suffered last game out against the New York Islanders.
The Bruins came out with a quick chance, set up by Milan Lucic. Lucic had the puck behind the Edmonton net, made a quick pass to the front where Horton, Kreci, and Corvo were jamming in front. Corvo found the puck, but his backhand went wide. A scare for Boston seconds later though, as a deflected pass at the point allowed for a semi-breakaway by Ryan Smyth. He took the puck far side, and just missed a goal as he hit the side of the net. Boston came right back though in this fast paced game with a chance by Bergeron. Patrice Bergeron picked up a rebound attempt far side, but his backhander went wide as well. The top line was clicking for Boston early, with Horton and Kreci having 2 great scoring chances in the slot, but Dubnyk stuffed them both. Tremendous work by the Bergeron line next, as a funny bounce sent the puck ricocheting up ice. Brad Marchand picked the puck up on the fly, and the Bruins had a 2-on-1 with McQuaid coming in late. Marchand tried to deke, but was stood up. Seguin picked up the loose puck, passed across ice to McQuaid, but somehow Dubnyk stopped the puck 5-hole going from post to post. The 1st line came out for Boston, and Kreci battled in the far corner hard with Ladislav Smid. He was knocked down, got back up and still maintained control of the puck. Horton backed him up, allowing Kreci to pass the puck to take the pressure off of himself. Horton passed back to Kreci, and Kreci found a wide open Johnny Boychuk at the near point. Boychuk sent a rocket on net with Lucic screening in front, and the puck found the back of the net. Boston was up 1-0 at 7:11. The Bruins kept the pressure on, with Zach Hamill taking over for the injured Paille. Hammil jumped up from the point to pick off a clearing attempt in the attacking zone. He skated into the near circle, and passed across ice to Jordan Caron. Caron took a wrist shot, but it was blocked Smid’s stick. However, the puck trickled to the far post, Dubnyk stretched out with his stick to stop it, but could not get enough of the puck as it snuck past the goal line. Boston was up 2-0 now just 1:44 after the Boychuk goal. Oilers head coach Tom Renney called his timeout, trying to wake his players up. Edmonton got the message, whatever it was. Ales Hemskey took the puck along the near boards, and passed to Theo Peckham at the near point. Peckham fired a shot, and it was tipped in front by Ryan Smyth, just going by the right skate of Rask and into the back of the net. Edmonton had cut the lead to 2-1 at 12:02. Then came a pair of number 1 overall picks working the puck up ice for Edmonton. This years number 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a long pass up ice to last years number 1 overall pick Taylor Hall. Hall skated into the near circle, passed back to the high slot, where Nugent-Hopkins rifled a shot by Rask. The game was tied just 29 seconds later at 2. Zach Hamill then had a semi-breakaway, after skating behind the Oilers defense and receiving a chip pass by Siedenberg. Hamil skated near circle, and fired a shot on goal. Dubnyk made a great save with his blocker though. Hamill came right back off another rush attempt. He skated into the offensive zone, when he was hit hard and up high by Peckham. That would warrant him 2 minutes in the penalty box for roughing, at 18:17. The Bruins would have most of their powerplay to end this period, but it would extend into the 2nd as they did not score. A very exciting 1st period, with fiery play from both teams. The teams headed to the locker rooms, tied at 2.
The Bruins 17 seconds of powerplay was over quickly as the period started, and they were back to 5-on-5 hockey. Brad Marchand made dangerous play in the Bruins own zone, making a behind the back pass to the center slot. The pass was tipped by an Oiler, and the puck tumbled to the point to Tyler Seguin. Seguin chipped the puck along, and with a burst of speed had a breakaway. Jeff Petry took a hold of him though, and Seguin was separated from the puck. Petry would receive a hooking minor at 2:09. The Bruins powerplay was quick in moving the puck along, and creating chances on goal. Tyler Seguin had the puck down low, and passed up to Corvo at the point. Corvo skated to the far point and fired a shot on net. The puck was tipped in front by Brad Marchand, and found the back of the net. Boston was back on top 3-2 at 3:50, as Seguin and the Bruins powerplay continued their hot streaks. That’s now 4 straight games with a powerplay goal, and Seguin’s 5th game in a row with a point. Seguin would continue his streak further, off a bad change by the Oilers. Seguin came flying up with Marchand to create a 2-on-2. Seguin fired a shot from the near point with Marchand screening. The puck hit the near post, and bounced back and hit Dubnyk. The puck tumbled in the crease, and Dubnyk fell to the ice to knock it away with his stick, but it was Tom Gilbert who chipped the puck out of the crease. Seguin was waiting in the near slot. He picked up the loose puck, and easily roofed it over the prone goaltender. Boston had its 2nd 2 goal lead of the night, up 4-2 now at 6:24. Not to be outdone, Taylor Hall came flying into the Boston zone, trying to create a scoring chance. Johnny Boychuk had him lined him up for a hit, as Hall just sidestepped the hit. He was also being hooked from behind by Shawn Thornton, which made the move more impressive. So Thornton went to the penalty box at 9:29 for hooking. The Bruins penalty killers were very strong defending Rask, not allowing a shot to reach him. The penalty was over for Boston, but an exhausted Bruins line iced the puck. Claude Julien took this opportunity to call his timeout to give his team a breather. Tyler Seguin was creating more chances for the Bruins, as he, Marchand, and Bergeron came up ice in a 3-on-2. Seguin was stood up in the near circle, and had the puck go back behind the net. Jordan Eberle and Patrice Bergeron went down to the boards, where Eberle checked him before either of them touched the puck. That would get Eberle 2 minutes for interference at 16:48. The Boston powerplay had great movement, and a couple good chances that went wide, but overall the Bruins were not able to get a shot on net. The period would come to a close with the Bruins up 4-2.
Boston started fast again to open up the 3rd period, with the Bergeron line causing havoc. Patrice Bergeron skated into the high slot, deking around defenders, and fired a shot on net. The shot was blocked, and a juicy rebound was just cleared away from a streaking Seguin. Off the ensuing face-off, Dennis Seidenberg took a drive that went wide. The puck took a Boston bounce off the back boards, and that allowed Zach Hamill a chance on goal. He was planted into the near post and hit up high by Corey Potter, and the puck just trickled away. Potter would receive a 2 minute minor for high-sticking at 1:05. The Bruins would give it right back though, as Dennis Seidenberg was called for hooking at 2:08. So they skated 4-on-4 for 52 seconds before Edmonton would have a powerplay to work with. Edmonton would go on the powerplay, but it was virtually invisible. Edmonton couldn’t muster a shot on goal, and they were back to 5-on-5. Boston would go back on the penalty kill though, as Gregory Campbell was called for hooking at 6:15. Andrew Ference would receive an undisclosed injury, and was sent down the tunnel for the rest of the game during the commercial break. Back to hockey though, as the Oilers had a crucial powerplay to work with to try to get back into this game. Again though, the Boston penalty killers proved to be too much, not allowing a shot on Rask. Gregory Campbell was now out of the box, and Brad Marchand picked up a loose puck at center ice. Boston now had a 2-on-2 up ice. Marchand skated far side, faked a snap shot, and passed across ice to Campbell. But Dubnyk made a terrific save up high with the shoulder. Patrice Bergeron was next in line for the Bruins, when he lifted Jordan Eberle’s stick, and made contact with Eberle’s shield. That put Bergeron in the penalty box at 13:25 for high-sticking. A much more effective powerplay this time around for the Oilers. Edmonton took shot after shot on Rask, and even without any support from his penalty killers, Rask was able to stop everything. Finally though, Ryan Smyth broke through, tipping a cross-ice pass in the crease into the net. Edmonton had closed the gap to 4-3 at 15:18. The Bergeron line came out to keep the momentum in Boston’s favor, and they did just that. A great shift in the attacking zone when Tyler Seguin was knocked to the ice in front of the net by Cam Barker, while the puck was in the corner. It resulted in an interference minor at 16:56. Boston made quick work of the powerplay, with Joe Corvo making a ridiculous pass from the bottom of the near circle across ice to Milan Lucic. Lucic tipped the puck into the net, and Boston’s lead was back out to 2, up 5-3 at 17:13. Still, the Bruins did not let up. Brad Marchand came up ice with a 2-on-1, and just missed a shot wide far side. He came right back with another rush attempt, and this time he buried the puck into the back of the net. What was just a 1 goal game mere moments ago, was now a 6-3 lead for Boston just 44 seconds after the Lucic powerplay goal. Boston would go right back on the penalty kill, when Chris Kelly was called for holding at 18:42. So the final 1:18 would be a man down for the Bruins. Another poor powerplay from the Oilers, as this game drew to a close. Boston had now won their 4th straight game, 6-3 over the Edmonton Oilers.
Boston had another very impressive win, scoring 6 goals for the 3rd time on their 4 game win streak, totaling in 25 goals throughout the streak. Seguin has a 5 game point streak, and the powerplay has scored in all 4 games during this win streak. Everything is going right offensively. And you can see it paying off for the Bruins terrific netminders. Thomas allowed 2 and 0 goals in his 2 starts, and Tuukka Rask allowed 2 and 3 goals. So the one game a goalie wasn’t on his game, was this game when Rask allowed the 3 goals. But since his team was scoring in front of him, it didn’t matter. The Bruins goalies have not had to play other wordly to get a 1-0 or 2-1 win. Instead, they can go out and just play their game, and feel confident that their offense is going to score out in front of them. It’s kind of the opposite of what we’ve been seeing over the last few years, with the offense relying on the goaltenders to keep them in games. Except now, the goaltenders do not have to rely on the offense to score, because Thomas and Tuukka are both top 10 goaltenders in this league. It really is the best spot the Bruins can ever be in. If this offensive output continues with some consistency, look for the Bruins to be a force during the regular season, and be one of the top 5-10 teams in the league in scoring. The Bruins play their next game against division rival Buffalo. The Sabers have the Vezina trophy winner from 2 years ago, in Ryan Miller. So this offense will be put to the test. Boston had trouble with Buffalo last year, so they will need to fight hard, and grind this game out to secure a victory. I look for the Bruins to come out on top though, just based on how hot their offense has been.