Boston Bruins (28-20-8) at Edmonton Oilers (16-32-10)
|Date & Time||Wednesday February 18, 2015, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Edmonton Oilers / Boston Bruins --- Over/Under:
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The Boston Bruins are reeling right now but they are fortunate because the club closest to them in the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference is struggling just as much. Boston has lost four straight games and currently sit fourth in the Atlantic Division standings with 64 points. The Florida Panthers are right on their tail but they’ve lost three straight games and are currently four points behind the Bruins with a game in hand. The Philadelphia Flyers are also doing their best to get back into this thing as they sit just six points out in the standings. Boston just hasn’t been the same club that we’ve been used to seeing in recent years and it started right before the season started when they traded away Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders in an effort to clear cap space. While it’s understandable the need to make room under the cap it’s hard to believe that the Bruins couldn’t find a better way to do that without really limiting themselves on the back end. Boston has allowed 17 goals during this current four game losing streak that started with two losses on home ice before they headed on the road and lost to Vancouver and Calgary. Against the Flames the Bruins held a 3-0 lead midway through the second period before falling apart. Calgary scored once in the middle frame, got an early goal in the third, and then capitalized on the man advantage with just over five minutes remaining to tie things up. The Flames would eventually win it with a last second overtime goal to send the Bruins to yet another defeat. Zdeno Chara was a +25 last season but is currently sitting at -1 this year. Milan Lucic scored 24 goals last season but has only found the back of the net 11 times this year. It has been a down season all the way around for the Bruins but they can make up for all of it if they can just find a way to sneak into the playoffs.
In Edmonton the Oilers are just trying to figure out which of these young pieces are ones that they want to move forward with and which are players that they can use to bring in assets that they believe will benefit them in the future. Edmonton still struggles immensely on the defensive side of the puck so it would behoove them to find a way to move some of that young, offensive skill for some guys who can play in their own zone. They’ve lost two straight games coming into Wednesday night’s contest and have allowed 11 goals over those two games. After getting blown out in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon the Oilers bounced back nicely against the Winnipeg Jets, but it still wasn’t enough. Nail Yakupov and Anton Lander scored in the opening period to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission, but the score would be tied 2-2 heading into the third. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got his 15th of the season just 1:08 into the final frame to give Edmonton the lead, but Winnipeg would answer back just over two minutes later. Nail Yakupov would then score on the power play to make it a 4-3 lead for the Oilers, but once again they crumbled shortly after, allowing the Jets to even things up just 42 seconds after. Blake Wheeler opened the shootout with a goal against Viktor Fasth, and all three Oilers shooters were denied as they fell by a final of 5-4.
The Oilers have been much more competitive lately than they were earlier in the season, and this is a bad Bruins club right now. A loss in this one an this is just a disaster of a road trip for them, so they need to find a way to come out with a victory in this one.