EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers battled back from down 3-0 after the first to draw within one heading into the third period, but the Boston Bruins would hold on to gain the 4-2 win.
"Even in the first, I didn't think we were horrible. I thought we were a victim of circumstance a little bit," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "Maybe not totally comfortable in our skin in the first but in the second and third obviously that's how we want to play."
The two Oilers goals were scored by David Perron, who led all forwards with 23:20 of icetime.
"He is a guy that you want to rub off on the rest of the group," Eakins stated. "I know that the group is taking notes because you hear it on the bench when he's on the ice, the things that he's doing.
"Tonight, Arcobello was the same thing. Winning battles against Chara, Arco was. That's the level of compete that we need out of everyone."
Dennis Seidenberg took a long-range shot from just inside the blue line and it flew past Oilers net minder Devan Dubnyk at 10:25 of the opening period to give the visitors from Boston the 1-0 lead.
Jarome Iginla unleashed a one-timer from the top of the circle to the left of Dubnyk and the puck sliced through traffic and found twine at 16:11 of the first. Seidenberg and David Kreji earned the assists. The 36-year-old-Edmonton native's goal was his seventh of the season and 537th NHL goal of his career. That one put the Bruins up 2-0.
He would tally number 538 later in the game.
Oilers defenceman Philip Larsen committed a turnover and then committed to diving for the puck too early, against a Boston 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, and the Bruins capitalized. Brad Marchand connected on a good pass by Patrice Bergeron at 18:17 to make it 3-0. That was the seventh shorthanded goal allowed by the Oilers this season, the most in the NHL.
The Oilers would pull Dubnyk in favour of Jason LaBarbera to begin the second period. LaBarbera's last game action for the Oilers was on November 2, against Detroit.
David Perron made it 3-1 at 3:25 of the second period. Perron skated through bodies eventually firing a wrist shot from top of the circle, up and over the extended blocker of Chad Johnson. The Oilers first goal was assisted by Justin Schultz and Nick Schultz.
Edmonton's Luke Gazdic and Boston's Milan Lucic squared off in a fight that drew a loud response from the Rexall Place crowd at 4:18 of the second period. Both players landed blows with the Oilers rookie getting a big piece of the Bruin towards the end of the bout.
"It definitely got us going," Eakins began. "It never hurts to have one of their players off the ice for five minutes. And the other thing is, Luke was good at finishing his checks. He made some good plays inside his zone to get the puck out, he was responsible with the puck, putting it deep. I liked his game. For parts in the second period, I started running their line against Krejci's line and they were doing quite well."
Gazdic said that he was looking to find a spark for the club.
"I wasn't really running around looking for it but we were down 3-1 and they were rolling over us at home. It's not the way it's supposed to go here so I thought we needed a bit of a spark," Gazdic remarked. "There wasn't a better guy that I found myself on the ice with and thought the team needed that and I thought it helped."
Perron scored again to draw his team within one with just 2:33 remaining in the middle frame. Jordan Eberle just missed on connecting with Perron out in front of the Bruins net, but the winger scooped up the puck behind Johnson and put in the wraparound try to make it 3-2. Jeff Petry earned the second assist on the goal. The score was Perron's team-leading 14th goal of the season and Eberle's team-leading 28th point.
The Oilers did their best to keep the Bruins away from LaBarbera in the third. Boston's first shot of the period game with under seven minutes remaining in regulation.
With 3:08 remaining in the game, the Oilers would go on the power play as Seidenberg closed his hand on the puck in a scrum for the loose biscuit by the post. They failed to capitalized and when they pulled LaBarbera for the extra attacker, the Bruins feasted on the empty net.
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