With the loss, the Oilers' record drops to 9-4-2 on the season; the orange and blue continue to lead the NHL's Northwest Division, placing second in the West.
The Oilers' six-game road trip continues tomorrow night as the team goes head-to-head with the Detroit Red Wings. Game time is 5:30 p.m. MST and it can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers.
The Oilers stayed step-for-step with the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins for 55 minutes, but a pair of late-game goals helped propel the home side to a commanding 6-3 win Thursday night at TD Garden.
Devan Dubnyk got the start in goal, posting 24 saves in the loss.
35 seconds in, Ryan Smyth picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and scooted in alone on the ice's bench-side. No. 94 snapped a wrister on the 24-year-old 'tender, but Smyth's shot struck iron, keeping the game scoreless moments in.
While the Oilers were challenged to produced chances in the early-going, the home side was not. The Bruins peppered Devan Dubnyk with several gold-star attempts, including a cross-crease sequence that looked to be a sure goal. Boston's Tyler Seguin placed a slick pass across to a rushing Adam McQuaid, but Dubnyk an heroic denial on his opponent's seventh shot, six minutes in.
It was the Bruins' eighth that proved problematic, however. Johnny Boychuk collected the puck at the point and unloaded a cannon that eluded Dubnyk high, blocker-side to put Boston up 1-0 at 7:11.
1:44 later, the Bruins went up by a pair. A miscalculated, ill-advised turnover by Ben Eager allowed Zach Hamill to slide a pass across to Jordan Caron, who slid the puck beneath a diving Ladislav Smid (and Dubnyk) to put the home team ahead 2-0 at 8:55.
The goal prompted Head Coach Tom Renney to take a timeout, address his troops and hope the 30-second break would settle the orange and blue's obvious nerves.
Passed the period's 10-minute mark, the Bruins continued to lead 2-0 and were in possession of a 10-7 advantage on the shot clock.
Renney's timeout appeared to work wonders. At 12:02, a long-range wrister by the birthday boy, Theo Peckham (he's 24), was tipped home by Ryan Smyth at the doorstep. With the goal, Smyth's point streak was extended to six games, scoring six goals and 10 points during that time.
Just 29 seconds later, the Oilers pulled even. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scooped a loose puck in the slot, walked in on Rask and snapped a shot through the wickets to make it a 2-2 game.
With 1:43 on the clock, Peckham was charged with roughing, putting the Bruins on the power-play. 17 man-advantage seconds would be carried over into the second period. With 20 minutes in the books, the teams were locked in a 2-2 score, but the Bruins led 13-12 in shots.
The Oilers' 89.3-percent PK improved with a successful kill to start the period; but it was put back to work moments later at 2:09 when Jeff Petry was assessed a hooking minor.
On the ensuing man-advantage and with 19 seconds remaining in it, the Bruins' lead was restored. Patrolling the slot, Brad Marchand redirected a 60-foot point shot by Joe Corvo past Dubnyk put the Bruins up 3-2 at 3:50.
That one-goal lead soon doubled up. Boston's Tyler Seguin came speeding down the wing, snapping a shot wide and having the rebound bounce back into the middle. Dubnyk scrambled to keep the puck out of harm's way, but Seguin pounced in the low-slot, popping the puck under the bar to put the home side up 4-2 at 6:24.
With the Oilers down 17-13 in shots at 9:29, Shawn Thornton was charged with hooking, providing the visitors with a power-play and a chance to get back into the game once more. The Oilers maintained pressure throughout the advantage, but were unable to solve the B's netminder.
At 16:48, the Bruins went back to the power-play when Jordan Eberle was penalized for interference. The Oilers didn't allow another attempt on Dubnyk and improved to a 2-for-3 success rate with the PK on the night.
With 40 minutes expired, the Bruins continued to lead 4-2 and had extended to a 22-17 lead in shots.
1:05 into the period, the Oilers' comeback quest stalled when Corey Potter was assessed a minor for high-sticking. The Bruins' fourth power-play passed in 1:03, as Dennis Seidenberg was charged with hooking to put the teams in a 57-second 4-on-4 sequence.
Following that, the Oilers went to their second (although abbreviated) power-play, but the team's disjointed attack was unable to generate much. Still down by a pair, the orange and blue soon went to a third at 6:15 when Gregory Campbell was charged with hooking.
That, too, passed without a goal as the 4-2 Bruins lead continued to grace the scoreboard. As the period's midway point approached, Boston had established a 25-20 edge on the shot clock.
With 6:25 remaining, the Oilers went back to the man-advantage when Patrice Bergeron was assessed a minor for high-sticking. The Oilers loaded with an intense, two-minute sequence, solving Rask with only seven seconds remaining in the power-play. Ales Hemsky located Eric Belanger at the back door who, without hesitation, spotted Ryan Smyth at the crease's lip for a tap-in.
A minor penalty to Cam Barker with 3:04 on the clock but the Oilers to the test, staring down another Bruins PP. It took the home side a mere 17 seconds to cash; Milan Lucic leaped on a goal-mouth chance, tapping home the Bruins' 28th shot to put the home side up 5-3.
Boston's next shot was a tough one, too. Brad Marchand scored his second of the night, his fourth of 2011-12, to put the Bruins up by a commanding 6-3 at 17:57.
A late-period power-play was granted to the Oilers at 18:42 when Chris Kelly picked up a holding minor, but nothing materialized as the Oilers were doubled-up by the Bruins 6-3 at TD Garden.