The Boston Bruins will play the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night at the Garden after an embarrassing loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Oilers are a very weak team from a statistical perspective. In the Western Conference, the Oilers rank in dead last with the second-to-lowest point total (47) in the NHL. They rank last in the league with their goals against statistic (190). Their defense and goaltending have been a sight for soar eyes this year.
Oilers’ Ben Scrivens Will Be the X-Factor
However, in a 3-0 shutout win over the San Jose Sharks yesterday, an Oilers’ X factor emerged, goalkeeper Ben Scrivens. Scrivens started his fourth game for the Oilers, and the next thing you know, he captured the single-game record for shutout saves with 59 stops. As you could imagine, some of these stops were absolutely amazing saves, sprawling and diving head-first across the crease. Think of a 2009 Tim Thomas (the year he won the Vezina) but better. That’s how the Bruins should treat Scrivens.
If Scrivens comes to the Garden and plays like he did against the Sharks, the B’s might find themselves faced with a second consecutive defeat. The Bruins’ forwards were sloppy and lethargic against the Canadiens. They weren’t crashing the net and cycling the puck as successfully as usual. Scrivens will be able to stop any half hearted attempts, so the B’s have to play a high-paced, aggressive game on both ends of the ice. The Bruins will have take advantage of loose pucks in the Oilers’ low slot especially.
Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins Are Talented
The Bruins, if they overcome the Oilers’ X factor, will be well on their way to victory. Nevertheless, the Oilers do have excellent young talent in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. All of these players have been skating very well lately. Hall is an explosive speed skater. Eberle makes up for his lack of size with nice scoring instincts. Nugent-Hopkins is a intelligent centre with a playing style similar to Jonathan Toews.
Looking at ESPN NHL stats, Hall has had six points in the past three games, and Eberle netted a goal and an assist against the Sharks. Nugent-Hopkins contributed to the Oilers’ recent win with two assists. Many people think that these forwards will be the “future” of the Oilers organization, but right now, they are getting acclimated to playing together. They are victims of the Oilers’ poor defense as well.
The B’s will have to actually play defense against the Oilers. They can’t stand around flat-footed like they did with Montreal. Come on, Bruins, you guys can get this win.