Bruins go for Western Canada sweep against Connor McDavid’s Oilers
|03.16.17 at 8:16 pm ET|
Thanks to wins over the Canucks on Monday and Flames on Wednesday — and with the Bruins having outscored those opponents by a combined 11-to-5 along the way — this trip to Western Canada has already been a massive success for the Black and Gold.
The trip can get even better for the Bruins tonight, too, who are in search of the road trip sweep as they wrap up their tour of the Pacific Division’s Canadian clubs with a head-to-head against the Oilers.
The Oilers proved to be too much for the Bruins to handle in their only other meeting this season, and dropped the Bruins by a 4-3 final at TD Garden thanks to a hat trick from Oilers winger Patrick Maroon.
But it almost goes without saying that the Bruins are a much, much different team now than they were just over two months ago.
Bolstered by the minor tweaks and changes made by interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, who replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7, the Bruins have rattled off wins in 12 of their last 15 games, and have a plus-26 goal differential (the tops in the NHL over that span).
“We’ve tried to increase our pace,” Cassidy said during his pregame availability today. “We think we’re a well-conditioned club, our practice pace picked up, and I think we saw some of that last night. I thought we really took over the game with our skating game as it went along. We’ll see if it comes into play tonight. It’s our third [game] in four [nights] against a fast team.”
Tuukka Rask will be in the crease for the B’s. The 30-year-old Rask stopped 26-of-29 shots against in Monday’s win over the Canucks, and comes into action with eight wins and a .926 save percentage in his last 11 games played. Rask allowed four goals on 25 shots in only prior meeting against the Oilers this season, and comes into play with four wins and a .913 save percentage in seven career games against the Oilers.
Edmonton counters with Cam Talbot. Talbot came up with stops on all but two of 24 shots thrown his way by the Stars on Tuesday night, and will make his league-leading 63rd start of the season. The 6-foot-3 Talbot made 33 stops in a 4-3 win over the Bruins on Jan. 5, and has three wins and a .927 save percentage in four career meetings with the Bruins.
The Bruins have points in seven straight games in Edmonton dating back to 2002 (5-o-2 record).
Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Drew Stafford – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano – Ryan Spooner – Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller – Kevan Miller