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PREVIEW: The Edmonton McDraisaitls come to Boston

A very top-heavy team does not a contender make. Not that Boston is exceptionally deeper, at least on offense. So let’s have ‘em duke it out!

NHL: Boston Bruins at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: 1:00 PM EST - A MatineExtravaganza!

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

How to follow: ESPN+, SN, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Copper ‘n’ Blue

Know your Enemy

  • 21-17-5, 47 points, 4th in Pacific / in a three-way tie for the waiting room outside the Wild Card slots in the West
  • Goals: Leon Draisaitl, 23
  • Assists: Connor McDavid, 42
  • Points: McDavid, 64 - and Draisaitl is right behind at 63, followed by James Neal at a peculiar 19-8—27 statline.
  • Goalie: Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith are fairly evenly splitting starts, but Koskinen is winning most, going 14-8-2 with a .912 Sv% and a 2.85 GAA. Mike Smith is... worse.

Game notes

  • The Oilers have six players above 20 points through 43 games, and Boston has 7 through 42. Not an exceptional difference in offensive prowess (with no intended slight to McDavid), and though it might be fair to compare the points contributions from each team’s most prolific offensive-defensemen included in this club - Torey Krug for Boston and Oscar Klefbom for Edmonton - it’s not really a close comparison, and even jumping to Boston’s next man down the totem pole, Matt Grzelcyk is also a better possession-focused player than Klefbom. Sure, Klefbom has to contend with top lines... but so does Charlie McAvoy and he’s also in positive possession territory.
  • Alright, that was a ramble. The point I was trying to approach is, though points are attainable for the forwards and the immediately obvious offensive defenseman on each team, the results are vastly different. Boston sits atop their division by a ‘neat’ margin, and would be leading Edmonton’s as well. Edmonton, meanwhile, boasts the most potent offense in the league and can win games 7 to 5 against the New York Rangers, but have won just twice against currently-playoff-eligible teams in the last five weeks, despite scoring 39 goals over those 15 games.
  • Alright, fine, a short version: Boston is top five in CF% since 2017. Edmonton is bottom 10. Both teams are high on the league-wide lists in special teams efficiency on both sides of the man (dis)advantage, so avoiding penalties would be wise for everybody. Otherwise, at 5v5, Boston SHOULD be the better team.
  • Are you excited for a matinee game that Boston should have in hand, but to do so must neutralize Connor McDavid?! ME NEITHER!! (We’ll still have some fun, at least.)