Before the action gets underway this evening, the Bruins will be honoring one of their all-time greatest members, Milt Schmidt. Schmidt is considered the “Ultimate Bruin” since he served as a player, coach and general manager of the club at various times. He helped bring four Stanley Cups to Boston. Schmidt passed away at the age of 98 yesterday.
Milt Schmidt made everyone he ever touched feel his special joy of life. He left us all better than he found us. Every time.
— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) January 4, 2017
For the first time, Bruin fans at the TD Garden will have the opportunity to see young superstar Connor McDavid live in action. It is rare for a player on the away team to generate a lot of buzz, but McDavid is a special player. Fans will be looking for a Boston win, but also hope McDavid can dazzle them at the same time.
This is a critical matchup for both teams since both are sitting on the very edge of a playoff position. Edmonton is currently third in the Pacific Division while Boston sits third in the Atlantic. Overall, this should be a very entertaining matchup.
If the Bruins hope to capture another win at home, they will have to deal with the speed of the Oilers. The Oilers are very young and very fast. Solid physical play to slow the visitors down and good neutral zone control from Boston are two factors they must focus on to come away victorious.
After being shutout in their last game, this matchup gives the Bruins a good chance to break their offensive slump. Edmonton’s defense gives up a lot of goals, so Boston will have to attack hard and get a lot of pucks to the net.
If Edmonton hopes that their visit to the TD Garden will end with a win, they will need to have good goaltending from Cam Talbot. On top of Talbot playing well, the young team will have to rely on their speed and creativity to fool the home teams defense. Boston tends to struggle with dynamic, and creative offensive players like the Oilers’ have in McDavid, Jordan Eberle and Leon Draisaitl.
Edmonton Oilers at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, TVAS, SN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting of the Season
Edmonton Oilers-19-13-7- 45 Points
Road Record: 10-6-5
Hot Players: Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Leon Draisaitl
Key Injuries: Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Mark Fayne, Tyler Pitlick, Iiro Pakarinen
Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot-Drake Caggiula-Jordan Eberle
Anton Lander-Mark Letestu-Jesse Puljujarvi
Andrej Sekera-Matt Benning
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Kris Russell-Eric Gryba
Boston Bruins-20-16-4- 44 Points
Home Record: 9-9-0
Hot Players: Ryan Spooner, David Krejci, Torey Krug
Key Injuries: Matt Beleskey, John-Michael Liles, David Backes
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Frank Vatrano
Tim Schaller-Austin Czarnik-Jimmy Hayes
Anton Blidh-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Boston Bruin’s forward David Backes will miss his third game in a row following a concussion. He has been cleared for contact and practice, but will not suit up tonight.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Connor McDavid will be visiting the TD Garden for the first time in his career. McDavid is tied for the NHL lead in points with 43 in 39 games.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] This will be meeting number 72 between the two clubs. Boston holds a 45-17-6-3 advantage in the all-time series.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Milan Lucic returns to the Garden tonight as a member of the Oilers. Lucic played 566 games for the Bruins registering 342 points and helped the team capture a Stanley Cup.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Ryan Spooner has been the hottest player for the Bruins lately with six points in his last five games. While Spooner looks to stay hot, David Pastrnak will try to find the back of the net for the first time in seven games.
Whenever the Oilers come to town it is must-see hockey. The Oilers will bring speed and creativity to this game, which is something that is not seen in the TD Garden too often. It is also a style of play that the Bruins have struggled to deal with in the past. Last season, Edmonton won both matchups with Boston. With both teams battling for playoff spots, it should be one entertaining hockey game.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.