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GDB 53.0: Oilers need consistency to beat the Bruins and extend winning streak (8pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
For the second time this season, the Edmonton Oilers are riding an eight-game home winning streak. They won eight in a row from November 13th to December 12th before losing to Florida and Tampa Bay. Then they started another eight-game winning streak on January 2nd vs. Philadelphia. And tonight, the Oilers will try to tie the franchise record of nine consecutive wins on home ice.
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They won nine in a row from March 14th to April 9th, 2017, and again between March 09th and April 1st, 2022. In 2017, the Oilers outscored teams 35-13 during their winning streak and crushed them 47-24 in 2022.
The Oilers have dominated their opposition during this eight-game streak, outscoring them 35-13. Zach Hyman leads the Oilers with eight goals, while Connor McDavid has 22 points and Leon Draisaitl has 16. The usually defensive-minded Cody Ceci has 1-4-5 in the eight games. Sam Gagner (4GP) and Corey Perry (2GP) are the only skaters in tonight’s lineup without a point during this run. They’ve received contributions from everyone in the lineup, both offensively and defensively.
Draisaitl has outscored the opposition 10-2 at 5×5, while McDavid is 16-5, Zach Hyman (13-4) and Evan Bouchard (13-6). Warren Foegele (3-4) and Gagner (0-3) are the only players with a GF% below 50%.
Stuart Skinner is 7-0 with a .940Sv% and 1.86 GAA, while Calvin Pickard pitched a shutout in his lone start, stopping all 27 shots vs. Chicago on January 25th.
The penalty kill is 91.3%, allowing two goals on 23 kills, while the powerplay is a sizzling 47.4%, with nine goals on 19 chances.
Every facet of their game has been working at home in 2024. After going 3-3 on the road in six games, with one home victory over Detroit in the middle of those six games, the Oilers will look to find the home consistency that has them within striking distance of home-ice advantage in the Pacific Division.
February hasn’t been the model for consistency for the Oilers thus far.
“We haven’t played a full 60 (minutes) since the break,” said Warren Foegele. “We are happy we finally got two consecutive wins. We hadn’t done that since the 16-game heater. It is something we have talked about, and we are all aware of it. We have to play a more consistent game throughout, especially when we are playing a team like Boston.”
The Oilers’ best game was in Dallas. It was extremely tight-checking in the first and third periods, while both teams created goals and chances in the middle period. I’d argue that was the Oilers’ best second period since the All-Star break, even though Dallas scored a few goals. The Oilers’ lackadaisical play in the middle frame has been very noticeable lately in games v. Detroit, St. Louis and Arizona. They had outstanding third periods vs. Detroit and Arizona to win, but Boston is a different beast. If you let them dominate you for a period, there is a good chance the game will be over.
Even though the Bruins have only won 11 of their last 21 games, they have points in 16 of them, and don’t give up a lot. Edmonton will need to play a smart, patient game, but if the Oilers can continue their home dominance they could pull within one point of Vegas for second place in the Pacific.
Vegas lost to Nashville last night, and if the Oilers win tonight they will be one point back with three games in hand.
This five-game home stand could finish with them in second place and set up a great run in March and April, but they need to be much more consistent tonight than they have recently, excluding the Dallas game.
Head coach Kris Knoblauch is expecting a similar effort. “I think this game is going to be a lot like the Dallas game. Tight checking with few chances,” he said.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Foegele – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – McLeod
Janmark – Holloway – Perry
Gagner – Ryan – Brown
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Skinner
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t skate this morning and stayed at home with an illness. Knoblauch deemed him questionable, and didn’t completely rule him out, but I’d be surprised if he plays. I expect Warren Foegele to start the game on McDavid’s wing, and after scoring an empty net goal in Arizona, Foegele is hoping it gets his game back on track.
“Coming out of the break was not how, I personally, wanted to come out, so getting one (goal) in Arizona was great,” said Foegele. “It doesn’t matter how they go in, when you score one it boosts your confidence.”
He should get some looks playing with the red-hot McDavid. McDavid is riding a 19-game home point streak with 46 points in those games. He is looking to join Wayne Gretzky as the only Oilers with multiple home scoring streaks of 20+ games. McDavid had a 21-game streak last season. McDavid has registered 60 assists for the eighth consecutive season. That is the second-longest streak in NHL history, trailing Wayne Gretzky (13 in a row).
The main question about tonight’s lineup will be: Who takes RNH’s spot on the first unit PP? Whom would you play there and why? I’m guessing it will be Kane. He is their best outside shooter.

Bruins

Marchand – Coyle –Heinen
DeBrusk – Zacha –Pastrnak
Van Riemsdyk – Geekie – Richard
Frederic –Boqvist –Brazeau
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Lohrei – Carlo
Forbort –Wotherspoon
Ullmark
The Bruins will be without one of their best defenders as Hampus Lindholm was injured v. Dallas on February 19th and it was announced this morning he is out week to week. That is a big blow to the Bruins’ backend. He plays the most minutes at even strength, averages 2:40/game on the PK and he’s on their second unit PP.
Parker Wotherspoon will play his 36th NHL game tonight, while Mason Lohrei will skate in his 28th game. With each of them on separate pairs, Leon Draisaitl will face one of them most shifts, and I’m sure Kris Knoblauch will get McDavid out against them now and again as well.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Knoblauch’s prediction of a tight-checking game comes to fruition. Edmonton ties their franchise high and wins their ninth consecutive game with a 3-2 victory. It is only the 16th win on home ice for the Oilers in 42 games v. Boston.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid extends his home point streak to 20 games.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Dylan Holloway sets a new career high with his fourth goal of the season.

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