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Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes: Oilers @ Bruins G12

Edmonton played their most uninspired game of the season in Detroit and deserved to lose. Those types of games will happen over an 82-game season, and now the challenge is to ensure they put forth a much more consistent, and smart, effort tonight in Boston.

— Last season Edmonton lost six of its first nine games. Then in their final 47 games they only lost consecutive games twice — a three-game losing streak to Toronto between February 27th to March 3rd, and then losses in Vancouver and Calgary on March 13th and 15th respectively. They lost back-to-back games only four times. Good teams find ways to limit losing streaks, and we’ll see if the Oilers can do that tonight in Boston.

— The Bruins are one of three teams who have played the fewest games in the NHL, 10, while the Oilers are tied with five other teams at 11. Fatigue is not a factor for either club. The Oilers lead the NHL in goals/game at 4.18 and are 20th in goals against/game at 2.91. Boston sits 23rd in GF/GP at 2.70 and 13th in GA/GP at 2.80. Edmonton gave Detroit far too many quality chances on Tuesday, and if it weren’t for some great saves by Stuart Skinner, that game would have been out of hand well before Jesse Puljujarvi scored late in the second period.

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— Edmonton’s top-five scorers are:                                   Boston’s top-five scorers are:
Leon Draisaitl: 10-13-23                                                      Brad Marchand: 5-10-15
Connor McDavid: 9-14-23                                                   Patrice Bergeron: 5-4-9
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 0-14-14                                          David Pastrnak: 3-5-8
Jesse Puljujarvi: 6-7-13                                                        Taylor Hall: 3-4-7
Zack Hyman: 7-3-10                                                            Charlie McAvoy: 1-6-7

If you look at 5×5 points Edmonton has Draisaitl (10), McDavid and Puljujarvi (9), Tyson Barrie (5) and Hyman and RNH (4). Boston leaders are Marchand (6), Hall, Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle (4) and Bergeron (3). Scoring isn’t Edmonton’s issue. Defending at 5×5 is still the one area they need to improve.

— Edmonton is 28th in GA at 5×5 averaging 2.18/game. I wrote at the start of the season this is the main area the group needs to improve on. They have shown glimpses of being sound defensively, but they still have too many off nights at 5×5. They have allowed four 5×5 goals three times (Philly, NYR and ANA), and three twice (DET and LVK). So in five of their 11 games they’ve allowed 3+ goals at 5×5. They allowed two once, only one goal four times and zero one time. They’ve shown they can be sound defensively, but they need to commit to it more. The entire group.

— It has been a collective issue amongst the team. Although, in limited minutes over eight games Brendan Perlini has yet to be on the ice for a goal against at 5×5. Neither has Ryan McLeod and Colton Sceviour in their three games, though they’ve played limited minutes against lesser lines. RNH, Draisaitl and Yamamoto have the best GA/60 among the top line forwards. It has been the other two lines leaking goals, and they need to tighten up.

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— Connor McDavid’s best start to a season was a five-game point streak. He has more than doubled that this year with points in all 11 games. His current point streak is tied for the third longest of his career.

He scored in the final 14 games of the 2016/2017 season when he scored 25 points between March 14th to April 9th.
He had a 12-game scoring streak between February 16th-March 17th, 2019. He had 23 points.
He scored in 11 straight from November 4th to November 24th, 2019 and totaled 24 points.
Also had 11 in a row last season between March 6th to 29th, 2020 when he produced 26 points.
And this season he has 23 points in 11 games.

— His 11-game streak to start a season is the fourth longest in Oilers history. Wayne Gretzky had points in the first 16 games in 1984/1985,  had a 30-game streak to start 1982/1983 and he had points in his first 51 games (NHL record longest point streak at any point of a season) in 1983/1984. Gretzky (3x), McDavid and Sam Gagner (10 games in 2013) are the only Oilers to start a season with a double-digit point streak.

— McDavid now has six double-digit point streaks. Only six players in NHL history have recorded more 10+game-point  streaks prior to their 25th birthday: Gretzky (14) Denis Savard (8), Pierre Turgeon, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey and Mike Bossy (7).

— Active players who are among the top-100 point-streaks of all-time include Jack Eichel and Mike Hoffman (17 games), Phil Kessel and Steven Stamkos (18), Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry and Hall (19), Paul Stastny and Patrick Kane (20), Crosby (25) and Kane (26). Kane’s 26-game streak is 11th longest all time. I have a sneaking suspicion McDavid will surpass the 20-game mark on his current streak.

— Bergeron needs 20 goals to become the 105th player with 400 goals in NHL history. He is 74 points shy of 1,000, but to reach he’ll need 83 points, the most of his NHL career. It seems unlikely he reaches 1,000 points this season, but almost guaranteed he does next year. I think the bigger question with Bergeron is: Will he be on Team Canada at the Olympics? He is in the mix, but not a lock like linemate Brad Marchand.

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— Mikko Koskinen has never faced the Boston Bruins. Tonight will be his first start against the Bruins, leaving Edmonton as the only NHL team he’s never faced. The only teams he hasn’t beaten are Minnesota (0-1), Tampa (0-2) and Carolina (0-3). His seven wins this season are tied for second in the NHL behind Freddie Andersen and his .920Sv% is tied for 18th with Andrei Vasilevskiy (among goalies with four GP).

— The Oilers need to watch out for Pastrnak tonight. He has seven goals in nine career games against Edmonton, which is his second highest goals/game average against any NHL squad. He has eight goals in nine games v. Winnipeg. Edmonton must be aware defensively 5×5 v. the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line or this trio will light them up.

— Kyle Turris skated on a line with Derek Ryan and Warren Foegele yesterday filling in for the injured Zack Kassian. Turris has 10 career goals against the Bruins, the most against any NHL team.

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