The Bruins went into Wednesday’s game looking for their fourth win in a row. The Bruins would be tested going against the Edmonton Oilers, who are first in the Pacific division. Rask got the start for the Bruins, looking to extend his streak of 11 straight games allowing two or fewer goals. On the other side of the ice, an equally locked in Goalie Mike Smith was patrolling the crease for the Oilers. In his last 12 games,Smith has a record of 9-1-2. The Oilers were without several key players, including Connor McDavid, James Neal, and top defenseman Oscar Klefblom. The Bruins could not take this team lightly though, with the league’s leading scorer Leon Draisaitl ready to carry the Oilers to a W.
The Bruins got off to a quick start, attempting to take advantage of the injury-plagued Oilers. The first scoring chance came as Coyle fed a pass to Bjork who entered the offensive zone with a step on the defense. Smith was up to the challenge and turned the shot away. The Oilers first scoring chance came almost eight minutes into the period on a backhand shot that rang off the crossbar. With just over 11 minutes left in the period the Bruins were able to get on the board for the game’s first goal. Marchand hit Bergeron, who was behind the defense and all alone against Smith. With a quick backhand to forehand move the puck was in the back of the net, Bruins 1 Oilers 0. The teams would trade penalties till the end of the period, with both unable to score the first period ends with the Bruins leading 1-0.
To start the second period it was the Oilers who came out firing, but an early penalty would halt their momentum. The Bruins would fail to score again, and just a minute later give up a power play to the Oilers. Edmonton created a number of dangerous chances, but Rask was able to turn them all away preserving the one goal lead. The undisciplined play continued as the Bruins would again go in the power play. This time it was the Bruins putting the pressure on and Smith keeping the puck out of the net. Both teams would trade chances with the Oilers creating more chances, but they just could not breakthrough Rask. As the second period came to a close the Oilers had outshot the Bruins 18-9, but the score remained at 1-0.
The Bruins would again start the period well but another penalty put the Oilers on the power play. The penalty kill was doing a good job, but with 17 seconds left a shot from the point was tipped passed Rask, tying the game at 1. Even with the goal Edmonton would struggle to gain momentum, as penalties would continue to be called on both teams. The Bruins finished the night going 0-7 on the power play, while the Oilers finished 1-6. The Bruins last kill would come with 2:30 left to play and the game was heading to overtime tied at 1. The Oilers would get the first chance in OT with a 2 on 1, but a great defensive play by Krug forced a regroup. After Nurse fired a shot off the side of the net, Krug moved the puck to Krejci as Pastrnak streaked up ice. Krejci hit Pasta with a pass as he entered the offensive zone all alone. With just Smith to beat Pasta went forehand backhand, getting Smith to move laterally, and slid the puck five hole for the winning goal.
3 Stars/Final Thoughts
The first star of the game goes to Pastrnak, who scored the winning goal and had an assist on the Bergeron goal. Pasta continues his fantastic season, and is once again tied for the lead in goals with 43. Mike Smith gets the second star without question. Smith was a huge part of the Bruins failing to score on the power play, and outside of the two breakaway goals he was outstanding. The third star goes to Tuukka Rask. Rask, much like Smith, was a huge part of his team’s penalty kill and shut down the NHL points leader. The win pushes Rask’s streak to 12 games allowing two goals or less. The Bruins will play Calgary next on Friday to continue their western Canada trip. The Flames are just one point ahead of the Jets for the last wild card spot, and will bring their A-game as they try to stay in the playoff picture. With the trade deadline and the final playoff push in full swing keep checking back for all the latest Bruins news.
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