The NHL leading Boston Bruins will aim to win a seventh straight game as they travel to Rogers Place to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
Boston (48-8-5) are enjoying a historic season and with 24 games remaining are on pace to break the NHL regular season record of 62 wins shared by the 1995/96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018/19 Tampa Bay Lightning.
|What||Boston Bruins @ Edmonton Oilers|
|Where||Rogers Place, Edmonton|
|When||01:30, Tuesday 28th February|
|How to watch||NHL.com/Viaplay sports|
|Odds||Boston Bruins 5/7, Edmonton Oilers 6/5|
The Bruins are almost certain to win the Presidents’ Trophy which would give them home ice advantage through the playoffs where they have lost just twice this season (24-2-3 at TD Garden).
The Oilers (32-20-8) are third in the Pacific Division, four points from first-placed Vegas Golden Knights, but also just two ahead of Seattle Kraken who have played a game less in fourth and are currently relying on a Wild Card spot into the playoffs from the Western Conference.
The Oilers are 2/15 to book a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and 15/4 to overtake the banged up Golden Knights and win the Pacific Division.
The Bruins’ only slip-up all season long was a three-game losing streak at the end of January, all on the road where they are 21-6-2.
Other than that, Boston have not lost consecutive games and, including the run they are on, have put together four separate winning streaks of at least six games.
With an average of 3.74 goals per game, Boston rank third for goals scored, slightly behind Edmonton who are first with an average of 3.83.
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However, unlike the Oilers, the Bruins have been able to keep their goals conceded low too, allowing a paltry average of 2.09 per game which is the best in the NHL. The Oilers rank 20th letting in an average of 3.28, which has been a major downfall all season.
A large reason for Boston’s outstanding defensive record has been the form of netminder Linus Ullmark, who is 2/5 to win the Vezina Trophy as netminder of the year, and not only leads the league in wins (30), save percentage (.938) and goals against (1.86), but in their most recently victory over Vancouver Canucks became just the eighth goalie in NHL history to score a goal.
His backup, Jeremy Swayman, has also been good with a 14-4-4 record, .916 save percentage and 2.34 goals against average (GAA).
The Oilers enjoy the luxury of having the NHL’s top two-point producers in Connor McDavid (113) and Leon Draisaitl (88), and their presence has made Edmonton’s powerplay the most potent in the league, firing at 32.1%.
McDavid leads the NHL with 48 goals and is 4/11 to win the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. Boston’s David Pastrnak is second with 42 goals and he is 12/5 to catch and overtake the Oilers Captain to win the award.
Pastrnak has helped the Bruins convert at 23.9% on their powerplay (seventh), and with the likes of Brad Marchand (19 goals, 33 assists), David Krejci (13 goals, 34 assists) and Patrice Bergeron (21 goals, 23 assists) the 26-year-old be aiming to exploit the Oilers’ defensive issues which extends to their penalty-kill.
Edmonton's penalty-kill of 75% is a lowly 25th in the NHL and in great contrast to Boston's league leading 86.4%, which will give them confidence of being able to keep out McDavid et al on their potent man advantage.
Netminder Jack Campbell was signed on a long-term deal from Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season to become Edmonton's number-one and help them win a first Stanley Cup since 1990.
However, Campbell has struggled with a 17-8-4 record, .884 save percentage and 3.48 GAA which is a lowly 26th among goalies who have played 30 games or more.
His partner Stuart Skinner has been better with a 15-12-4 record, .912 save percentage and 2.90 GAA, and the Oilers have had to rely on him more heavily than they intended to.
The Oilers are 14-11-5 at home, and again this is something they will want to improve as they seek to reach the Western Conference Final again and go a step further to have a shot at the Stanley Cup which they are 17/1 to win for a sixth time.
Boston are aiming to lift the Cup for a seventh time and they are 4/1 to do so which would be their first since 2011.
Not resting on their laurels, the Bruins have acquired defenceman Dmitry Orlov and rugged winger Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals, adding further depth to a side already stacked with it.
Orlov won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2008 and registered 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 43 games with Washington this season, while averaging the second most ice time at 22.43. Hathaway scored 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 59 games and with 198 led the team in hits.