The Big Bad Bruins are in the barn and are looking to turn five consecutive wins into six.
With the Oilers returning from a five-game road trip with a 1-3-1 record, Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said the Bruins still need to be ready to set the pace.
“We know that sometimes you have the tired legs when you get back from a road trip like that, with the time change and everything, but I know out west they’re more used to that so I’m sure they’re going to be ready for us,” he said.
“But at the same time, for us it’s about using our speed and our legs and our energy is going to be the biggest key I think, especially early on.”
With a lot of new faces donning the black and gold jersey, Bergeron said the team chemistry off the ice and energy on it has been nothing but positive.
“I think right now everyone knows their role and is a big part of the team and the success and we need that,” said the alternate captain.
The Bruins are coming off a 4-3 win over the Rangers, Friday night.
“I think the Rangers game was a big statement game for us to play a good game, a solid game.... We have to build on that and move forward and we know that the Oilers are going to be a tough test for us as well.”
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have activated defenceman Justin Schultz from Injured Reserve.
Schultz, 25, has appeared in nine games with the Oilers this season, registering one assist and two penalty minutes. He also ranks second on the Oilers in time on ice, averaging 21:46 of ice time per game.
The Oilers also announced today they have assigned defenceman Griffin Reinhart to the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors.
Reinhart, 21, has appeared in 12 games with the Oilers this season, registering eight penalty minutes.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have recalled winger Jujhar Khaira from the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.
Khaira, 21, has appeared in 16 games with the Condors this season, posting seven points (3G, 4A) and seven penalty minutes.
The Surrey, British Columbia native has accumulated 17 points (7G, 10A) and 71 penalty minutes in 73 career AHL games.
The Oilers rolled out a new look to their forward lines on Thursday at practice in Detroit. The movement up front is an attempt to spark production after the Oilers offence has sputtered in recent games. They were shut out in Washington and managed just one power play goal against Carolina in a 4-1 loss to the Canes last night.
The Oilers broke up the top six, with Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl sticking together along with new right winger Jordan Eberle. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was centring Lauri Korpikoski and Teddy Purcell on the other top line with Benoit Pouliot dropping down with Mark Letestu and Matt Hendricks.
Some of the tweaks were made necessary by the injury to Nail Yakupov. However, the Pouliot-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle line didn’t produce like Head Coach Todd McLellan would have hoped at Carolina.
“That line had a tough night,” said McLellan. “The empty-netter is an empty-netter so they were -3, they were on for every goal. Some of them had absolutely nothing to do with being scored on. They just happened to be on the ice. Others had an involvement. I didn’t think they were real strong defensively, but certainly not offensively as well. They didn’t create anything, they didn’t get to the net, they didn’t get second chances. Power-play wise, they were OK but that’s a couple nights in a row so we’ve got to fix it.”
Following a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night, the Oilers were back to work at practice this morning. It was a lengthy practice with a lot of teaching and several battle drills.
The Oilers tweaked their forward lines and set out to work on issues in their game against the Canes. The endgame is a more competitive outing against the Red Wings here in Detroit tomorrow night.
“We went through some structure things where we broke down and then we took some of that on the ice and applied it,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Hopefully, that sets us up for a competitive game tomorrow. A competitive game doesn’t guarantee victory but it gives you a chance.”
The Oilers have announced that Nail Yakupov is out 2-4 weeks with an ankle sprain.
#Oilers forward Nail Yakupov out 2-4 weeks (ankle sprain).— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 26, 2015
Yakupov left last night’s game at Carolina after getting tangled up with a linesman and did not return.
Hall - Draisaitl- Eberle
Korpikoski - Nugent-Hopkins - Purcell
Pouliot - Letestu - Hendricks
Gazdic - Lander - Pakarinen
Hall-Draisaitl-Eberle, Korpikoski-RNH-Purcell, Pouliot-Letestu-Hendricks, Gazdic-Lander-Pakarinen— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) November 26, 2015
- BLOG: Tuesday Practice Updates
- BLOG: Defensive Gains in D.C.
- BLOG: Schultz Closing in on Return
- TOP 5: Oilers moments this season
- PRACTICE | Tuesday in Raleigh
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
- PRACTICE RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- PRACTICE RAW | Anders Nilsson
- PRACTICE RAW | Justin Schultz
The Oilers were determined to have a better outing against the Capitals last night than they did a month ago in Edmonton. They did just that, limiting the Caps to just one goal when they scored seven in a 7-4 win on October 23.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, they couldn’t score a goal themselves and were shutout by goaltender Braden Holtby’s 33 saves.
The good news for Edmonton, is their game against Washington showed improvements on the defensive side of things.
“I thought we played a great defensive game,” said goaltender Anders Nilsson, who made 29 saves. “The guys helped me out a lot. We had a great penalty kill last night. Washington has a great power play but we were able to shut them down there. They didn’t have that many grade-a scoring chances. Of course they had a few, because they have a lot of good players, but we didn’t see a lot of backdoor plays. The guys took away that. I think our defensive game last night was great and hopefully we can keep that up.”
“I definitely think it’s getting better,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said of the team’s defensive game. “I think once we can do it consistently, then I think we’ll be a lot more successful. We show it for a lot of periods and a lot of games but it’s just about doing it consistently right from the get-go. That’s when we’ll start finding wins.”
With a few younger blueliners, growth takes time. However, progress is visible.
“I see them improving,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Last night in Washington was a prime example. We couldn’t handle their skill level and their speed a month ago. Their movement, their motion in the o-zone, their power play. Specifically talking about our d-group, we did a real admirable job last night.
“We’re not perfect, but nor is any team in the league I see growth in young players. I see old dogs learning new tricks, which is a good thing for some of our veteran players as well. I think guys understand the parameters of what’s acceptable and not acceptable now, where at the beginning of the year they were trying to figure us out. all of those are positives. With that being said, we haven’t won enough games so we have to take it a step further.”
Justin Schultz is close to returning from his back injury, but it won’t be tomorrow in North Carolina.
The Oilers defenceman practiced fully with the team on Tuesday at PNC Arena but confirmed he wouldn’t be ready for game action right away. However, he is shooting for later in this road trip. The Oilers have stops in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto this week.
“Doing contact. Today was the first time I really did any of that and felt pretty good,” said Schultz. “As long as I feel good tomorrow and keep improving, I’ll be ready to go soon.”
The Oilers are encouraged by the progress Schultz has made as he recovers from a bulging disc in his back.
“Today was a bit more of a practice than a pre-game skate and that’s a good sign for him to be involved in that,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I haven’t got a post-practice report on him but the fraction I saw, he looked OK. Is he ready to play tomorrow? No, but we’re still hoping on this trip we can activate him and get him involved. Part of it is going to be the confidence that he has in his own body to play and play hard and to execute the way he would any other game.”