GDB 33.0: BATTLING THE BRUINS

The Boston Bruins are not only good on the ice; their marketing team is pretty solid off the ice as well. The Bruins have produced some humourous commercials the past five seasons, and this is one or my favourites. The Oilers aren’t a divisional rival, but many Bruins fans have told me they have a healthy disdain for the Oilers due to two Stanley Cup Finals losses in 1988 and 1990.

The Bruins and Oilers are at opposite ends of the NHL standings, and have been since 2007/2008, and the Oilers will need to play their one of their best games of the season tonight, just to keep it close.

The Oilers might catch a break with Tukka Rask battling the flu, but the Bruins are stacked and they haven’t lost in Edmonton since October 17th, 2000. That night Dan Lacouture and Brian Swanson scored their first NHL goals in a 6-1 thrashing of the Bruins. Since then, the Bruins have won four straight games in Edmonton including a 3-2 victory in their last visit to Edmonton on February 27th, 2011.

It is hard not to respect the Bruins.

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They have skill, size, experience, solid two-way players, great goaltending and they are the toughest team in the NHL led by their captain Zdeno Chara. They don’t have any weaknesses, and once again they are sitting first in the Eastern conference with a 21-8-2 record.

The Oilers are playing their best hockey of the seasons, 7-3-1 in their last 11 games, and while they didn’t beat up on the top teams in the league, they did grab 15 of a possible 22 points. That is a solid stretch of hockey, but tonight will be a much more difficult task for the Oilers.

The Oilers will need to use their speed, and be disciplined with the puck. They can’t continue to turn the puck over, especially on the powerplay, or the Bruins will skate them out of the rink.

LINEUP

Perron-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Hemsky
Gazdic-Lander-Jones

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Boyd Gordon still isn’t healthy enough to play. Ryan Smyth is also banged up, and he’ll be a game time decision. Eakins will switch up the PP units. They’ve been really hot or really cold, similar to the overall play of the team. Since November 5th, the PP is 17 for 71 (23.9%) so it’s not like it has been terrible. The production has been great, but the bad giveaways are the issue. 

Ference-Petry
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Belov-Larsen

Jeff Petry has been cleared to play. He’s an upgrade on Potter, and the Oilers need their best lineup against the Bruins.

Dubnyk

QUICK HITS….

  • It was a subtle message, but Dallas Eakins didn’t play Taylor Hall in the final five minutes on Tuesday after Jeff Skinner tied the game. You might say it was only five minutes, but it was the most important time of the game, and I’m sure Hall got the message. I’m curious to see how he responds, especially in the defensive end.
     
  • Eakins did put Hall out for the PP in OT, which was a smart, but not being on the ice for the final five minutes of regulation should get Hall’s attention.
     
  • It was interesting to note that Hall got a short stint on the bench, but Sam Gagner, despite some equally bad defensive decisions never missed a shift. Eakins must be giving him some leeway due to the injury, or he wants to keep throwing him over the boards with the hope it builds his confidence.
  • Firing Feaster today makes sense. There is no point waiting until the end of the season to can him, if the Flames knew he wasn’t their guy moving forward. You can also expect the Flames’ new GM to fire Hartley before the start of next season. The Flames should look at Oilers to see that firing coaches frequently doesn’t change much, if you don’t give the new coach better players.
     
  • Good luck to all of you in Fantasy Football playoffs…whether you are going for a championship, or trying to avoid losing the Toilet Bowl. Good luck. I have Manning, Decker and Moreno on my team…Please don’t pick tonight to have an off night.

TONIGHT….

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Because everyone expects them to lose, the Oilers stun the Bruins with a 4-3 victory. P.S… I put the team logos in front of my son, and whichever one he touches, I go with that team to win. He is 8 days old, and his record is already 2-0.

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers lineup has a combined four career goals vs. the Bruins; Hemsky, Perron, RNH and Ference each have one goal. Two Oilers will score their first career goal against Boston tonight.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Now that he isn’t a member of the Calgary Flames, the Oilers will give St. Albert native, Jarome Iginla a healthy cheer when he announced over the PA. Iginla will be honoured, and he’ll return the favour by scoring a second period goal. After the game, Oilers fans collectively decide never to cheer for an opposing player, who never played for the Oilers, ever again.

DAY TEN…MONTH OF GIVING

Yesterday we raised another $2,800 for Santas Anonymous.

Today we have an excellent and very generous package that was donated to us by The Home Matchmaker Michelle Derk from Remax Elite.

  • Up for grabs is the seller’s commission for your house. (In a regular sale half the commission goes to the seller realtor and half to the buyer. So this is $3.5% on the first $100,000 and $1.5% on the balance).

On a $500,000 house that is a value of $9,500.00 just to give you a reference point.

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You can bid on this package by calling 780.444.1260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR