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Preview: Edmonton Oilers visit Boston Bruins, 1/5, 7:00PM EST

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It's the halfway point of the B's season. Can they ruin the reunion with some of their former players and staff?

Boston forward Frank Vatrano rifles a shot at Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot.
Boston forward Frank Vatrano rifles a shot at Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts:

Who: the Edmonton Oilers (19-13-7, 45 points, 3rd in Pacific Division, 6th overall in West)
visit the Boston Bruins (20-16-4, 44 points, 3rd in Atlantic, 8th in East)

What: A hockey game between two middle-of-the-pack teams.

Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Home of Charlie McAvoy.

When: 7:00 PM (Eastern)

How to follow: NESN, TSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN Site: Copper and Blue

Edmonton Leaders:

Points: Connor McDavid, 43

Goals: McDavid and Leon Draisatl both have 14

Assists: McDavid, 29

Shots: McDavid, 114

Boston Leaders:

Points: Brad Marchand, 31

Goals: David Pastrnak, 19

Assists: Marchand, 21; Torey Krug close behind with 20

Shots: Patrice Bergeron, 130

Boston Notes

This is the 41st game for Boston this season, and they're dead even at 20-20 if you leave out the loser points. Fortunately, those loser points are keeping them a win ahead of the Lightning and the Leafs, who are both in our Division. Points are now at a premium.

David Backes skated yesterday, and John-Michael Liles is still skating, so we'll have to just wait and see when they make their return. They're both decent at what they do and it'd help out the Bruins offense quite a bit. That's the sad part about the leaderboards above; since my last game coverage, the 12/12 game in Montreal - ELEVEN GAMES AGO - Pastrnak gained just one goal and Marchand tallied 1-4--5. The bottom of the Boston roster has been keeping us afloat, and it's time for the big guns to step up.

Speaking of Top Guns, Bergeron has been pouring shots on net, and in the couple games before the embarrassing loss to New Jersey, he notched a pair of goals. He's gotta be pissed after Monday; look for Bratrice Pastrnak to be buzzing tonight.

The Oilers and Bruins are on pretty much the same trajectory - 8-9 vs. 7-8, respectively since the beginning of December; they're both 2-2 in their last four. That is, to say, treading water just poorly enough to sink a few inches.

Edmonton Notes

Chiarelli, Lucic, Ference (injured), and Benning (2012 6th rd pick, 175 overall, not signed) were all tied to Boston in recent membery. Chiarelli snagged one of his draftees off free agency. They'll probably all be in the building, but since Ference isn't playing and you're in the Garden, recycle your cups. Captain America won't tolerate that.

Darnell Nurse, Edmonton's promising young defenseman, was injured on December 1 and underwent surgery in mid-December on his ankle; he'll be out for about two more months (12 weeks total). This has hampered the Oilers' breakouts as they miss his his speed and snap passes through the neutral zone.

Copper and Blue made a case to trade for Colin Miller. What should they be willing to part with? Don't find out - they didn't pick something, and it doesn't come out in the comments. But, a positive spin on Chiller nonetheless. (Maybe we can come up with something?)

The Oilers had only six players above 50% CF in their last game, against Columbus. They're lucky they had any.