GDB 60.0: Oilers look to continue their unexpected dominance in Boston (5pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:© Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
4 months ago
The Boston Bruins have been the best home team in the NHL for the past five seasons. They’ve won 67.6% of their home games (119 of 176) and have a .739P%. They’ve been even better lately winning 53 of 72 games (73.6%) and have a .792P% since the start of last season. Tampa Bay has the second-best points% at .715. Winning in Boston has been difficult for most teams, but the Oilers won 3-2 last season, and are 3-0 over the past five years in Boston.
For decades the Bruins beat the Oilers for fun in Boston.
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During the Wayne Gretzky years (1980-1988), the Oilers were 2-10-1 v. Boston. However, they did go 4-0 in the playoffs.
From 1980-2014 the Oilers got dominated in Boston going 6-25-3-1. They didn’t win one game between 1997-2014.
However, since 2015 the Oilers are 6-1 in Beantown. They are 5-1 with Connor McDavid in the lineup, and tonight they will look to extend their franchise record road winning streak in Boston to four games.
Last season the Oilers trailed 2-0 after the first period but stormed back and won 3-2 on Darnell Nurse’s game-winning goal with 4:49 remaining. The Bruins entered that game on a 10-game winning streak, and it was the only game the Bruins lost in regulation all season when they scored first and/or led after the first period. Connor McDavid didn’t have a point, but Devin Shore, Ryan McLeod, Mattias Janmark and Cody Ceci did.
On Remembrance Day, 2021, the Oilers trailed 1-0, 2-1 and then 3-2 heading into the third period, before the dangerous duo of Leon Draisaitl and Ceci took over. Draisaitl scored two goals, while Ceci scored a goal and added an assist. Edmonton won 5-3. Ceci outscored McDavid (one assist) again. Crazy.
On January 4th, 2020, the Oilers ended Boston’s nine-game point streak with a 4-1 win. The Oilers allowed the first goal again and trailed 1-0 after the first period. Then Gaetan Hass tied it before Nurse scored the game-winning goal in the second period. McDavid and Draisaitl added insurance goals in the third frame.
Three consecutive wins in Boston while allowing the first goal. They’d call that an outlier in Boston. Since 2020, the Bruins are 79-10-13 when scoring first. They are 67-5-4 when leading after 20 minutes, yet the Oilers handed Boston two of those five regulation losses. Their recent success in Boston has been quite remarkable. But can they continue it tonight?
The Bruins aren’t dominating at home recently. They are 3-4-2 in their last nine home games, but they did win their last two defeating Vegas and Dallas. They also played very well in Toronto last night, and goaltender Jeremy Swayman felt it was one of their best performances of the season.
“It was our identity,” said Swayman. “And that was really special to see — the way guys responded and played the right way for the crest. We get results when we do that. And I think we’re going to have this game to look back on to know what we need to do to win big games like this.”
The Oilers enter tonight feeling good about their game as well. They’ve won four in a row and allowed only six goals in those games. Stuart Skinner had a bit of a dip in February, but he’s found his game again winning three in a row with a .949Sv% and 1.63 GAA.
Swayman defeated the Oilers last month in Edmonton 6-5, but he will get the night off while Linus Ullmark gets the start. Ullmark has lost his last five starts while posting an .874Sv% and a 3.40 GAA. On the season he has a .910Sv% and 2.80 GAA, well below his Vezina-winning numbers last year when he had a .938Sv% and 1.89 GAA. Swayman has taken over the starter’s job, and I won’t be surprised if the Bruins move Ullmark before the start of next season. Not because he is bad, but because they could use him to augment other parts of their team and add a solid backup.
The Oilers’ recent success in Boston has been unexpected, but a victory tonight shouldn’t be considering how well they have played under Kris Knoblauch.




Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – RNH – Janmark
Foegele – McLeod – Perry
Brown – Holloway – Ryan
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Desharnais
Kulak – Ceci
Knoblauch will stick with the same top-three lines and D pairs as last game. Derek Ryan draws back in for Sam Gagner who placed on waivers, while Stuart Skinner is back after Calvin Pickard defeated Pittsburgh. I liked Gagner’s game, and I felt the fourth line created more than they had recently. Ryan hasn’t done much 5×5 the past few months and he will need to play better if he wants to be a regular in the lineup after the trade deadline, as I expect GM Ken Holland to add some forwards to this roster.
Zach Hyman is scorching hot with 10 goals in his last eight games. He is on pace for 58 goals. If he scores 55, he’ll joins Wayne Gretzky (6x), Jari Kurri (2x), Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (once each) as the only Oilers to score 55 goals in a season.


Marchand – Coyle –Debrusk
Heinen– Zacha –Pastrnak
Van Riemsdyk – Geekie – Frederic
Lauko – Boqvist – Brazeau
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Lohrei – Carlo
Wotherspoon – Shattenkirk
The Bruins might make a change on their third pairing and dress Derek Forbort as he sat out last night, but outside of the goalie swap, that is the only switch we will see. When these teams met two weeks ago in Edmonton, Matt Grzelcyk was injured on the first shift and the Bruins played five defenders all night. Charlie McAvoy (10:45) and Brandon Carlo (10:19) faced McDavid the most. That night McDavid and Draisaitl were on separate lines, and with them playing together, look for the Bruins to try and get McAvoy/Grzelcyk against them as often as they can along with the Pavel Zacha line.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: It still seems odd to pick Edmonton to win in Boston, but they are playing well, and they win five games in a row for the third time this season with a 4-2 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hyman keeps rolling and scores his 43rd of the season.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Cody Ceci extends his point streak in Boston to six games. He has six points in his last five games in Boston, including three goals.

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