Just the Facts:
When: 7 PM est
Where: TD Garden
How to Follow: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Rival SB Nation Site: Copper and Blue
Know your Enemy:
The Oilers have only played one game so far this season because they spent last week in Europe, where they lost 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils Saturday. Similar to the Bruins, the Oilers are a top-heavy team with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid on the first line, but have very little depth. Their top four defensemen aren’t the best you will ever see, but can hold their own. This is a team that many thought could win the Western Conference going into last season, but they performed horribly. An interesting fact about the Oilers penalty kill last, at home they gave up 40 goals in 178 minutes (13.46 GA60), but on the road only gave up 17 goals in 222 minutes (4.20 GA60). That made for the best road penalty kill and worst home penalty kill.
- The Bruins will count on their depth in this one. The Bergeron line will spend most of its minutes matched with McDavid. The Krejci line needs to step up if they get matched with the second line for Edmonton which we expect will contain Leon Draisaitl. It wouldn’t hurt to get a goal or two out of the bottom 6 either.
- Speaking of the second line, Joakim Nordstrom??? In Cassidy we trust. I wrote this about him a couple of weeks back. “Nordstrom put up 0.42 wins above replacement over the two prior seasons, and last season really taints his resume. Don’t expect much production from him, but he should be dependable on the fourth line and step into the penalty kill if asked.”
- If Ryan Donato get’s scratched, all eyes on Bjork and Heinen. Both players haven’t played their best games so far. Cassidy hopes to use this as a tool for the young players to understand the details of the game.
- It’s going to take a five man unit to stop the Edmonton top line. The Bruins held McDavid to just a 43% CF% in the two games against him last season. Pay close attention to McDavid’s zone entries. He rarely dumps the puck, and passed the puck to a teammate leading to a shot attempt on 32.4% of his controlled entries last season which was fifth in the league. Much of his offense comes off of the rush, and it will take not only Zdeno Chara, but Charlie McAvoy and backcheckers to shut him down.