A pair of soft goals in the second period kicked off the Edmonton Oilers’ four unanswered goals in a, 4-1, win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at TD Garden.
Mike Smith (8-9-3 record, 3.01 goals against average, .897 save percentage in 22 games played) stopped 35 out of 36 shots faced for a .972 SV% in the win for the Oilers.
Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (9-4-5, 2.25 GAA, .928 SV% in 18 games played) made 22 saves on 25 shots against for an .880 SV% in the loss.
Boston fell to 24-8-11 (59 points) on the season, but remained in 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while Edmonton improved to 22-17-5 (49 points) and moved into 3rd place in the Pacific Division.
The B’s lost just their 2nd game in regulation on home ice this season and are now 14-2-9 overall at TD Garden in 2019-20.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) against the Oilers, while Matt Grzelcyk (illness) was also out of the action on Saturday.
As a result, despite being assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Friday, Steven Kampfer was recalled from Providence on Saturday to go in the lineup for Grzelcyk on the third defensive pairing with John Moore.
Bruce Cassidy made one minor change among the forward lines from Thursday night’s, 3-2, overtime loss to Columbus– swapping Sean Kuraly with Par Lindholm at center on the third line and moving Kuraly back to the fourth line.
Brett Ritchie and David Backes were the only healthy scratches for the B’s against Edmonton.
A few minutes into the game, after David Pastrnak rocked Oscar Klefbom with a huge hit behind the Oilers net after Klefbom rid himself of the puck to a teammate, Leon Draisaitl tried to avenge the clean, but half-a-second late hit from Pastrnak on Klefbom by elbowing Torey Krug at 3:05 of the first period.
Boston’s power play didn’t take long to convert on their first opportunity of the afternoon as Pastrnak (31) rocketed a shot that deflected off of Edmonton defender, Kris Russell, and floated over Smith’s glove.
Krug (23) and Brad Marchand (40) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s power play goal and the Bruins led, 1-0, at 3:10.
Per Conor Ryan of Boston Sports Journal, the Bruins have scored a power play goal in 10 straight games for the first time since March 7-27, 1996.
Pastrnak and Marchand are the seventh pair of Bruins teammates to each reach 60 points in a season prior to the team’s 45th game of the season. They’re the first teammates to do so since Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr did so in the 1974-75 season (32 GP).
Late in the opening frame, Gaetan Haas slashed Marchand and was sent to the penalty box at 15:26.
Boston did not score on the ensuing power play.
Heading into the first intermission, the B’s led the Oilers, 1-0, on the scoreboard, but trailed Edmonton in shots on goal, 9-6.
The Oilers also held the advantage in giveaways (4-1) and hits (14-11), while Boston led in faceoff win percentage (53-47).
Both teams had three blocked shots and two takeaways each after one period.
Edmonton had yet to see any time on the skater advantage and Boston was 1/2 on the power play entering the middle frame.
Cassidy juggled his lines throughout the second period as the Bruins looked flat.
Kuraly tripped up Haas at 2:25 of the second period and presented the Oilers with their first power play of the afternoon.
Boston killed off the penalty and avoided injury after Charlie McAvoy took a shot up high and went down to the ice before getting up and skating off on his own. He showed no signs of anything major and played the rest of the game without obvious discomfort.
Almost midway through the middle frame, Jake DeBrusk mishandled the puck in his own zone and coughed up a slow-moving glider right into the slot where Haas swooped in, faked a shot and got Halak to open up his five-hole before slipping the rubber biscuit through the opening to tie the game, 1-1, at 7:41.
Haas’ goal was unassisted.
Moments later, Zdeno Chara was guilty of a phantom holding call against Joakim Nygard (it could’ve been interference or a trip, but the eye test didn’t show much of a hold) at 12:03.
Edmonton didn’t capitalize on the skater advantage, but they did capitalize on another soft goal in the dying seconds of the second period.
Darnell Nurse (3) flung a shot from a bad angle just before the goal line and the puck snuck between Halak and the post on the short side– giving the Oilers their first lead of the night, 2-1, in the process.
Draisaitl (41) had the only assist on Nurse’s goal at 19:53.
The two teams went back to their dressing rooms with Edmonton ahead of Boston, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 19-15, in shots on goal after 40 minutes of action.
The Oilers also dominated in giveaways (9-5), hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Bruins held the advantage in blocked shots (12-7) and takeaways (7-2).
Edmonton was 0/2 on the power play and Boston was 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the third period.
Oilers captain, Connor McDavid, emerged from the second intermission fresh with energy as Zack Kassian setup the Edmonton phenom on a breakaway less than two minutes into the third period.
McDavid (23) scored on Halak while Kampfer chased after Kassian and Chara trailed behind the play– giving Edmonton a two-goal lead.
Kassian (15) and Ethan Bear (10) had the assists on McDavid’s goal and the Oilers led, 3-1, at 1:48.
Bear followed up his secondary assist with a high sticking infraction at 4:02, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on their third power play opportunity of the afternoon.
Then a large swath of the third period was filled with Boston firing pucks at the net only to be stopped by Smith and no other events on the scoresheet until 2:51 remaining in regulation when Cassidy pulled Halak for an extra attacker.
Edmonton nearly scored seconds later, but hit the outside part of the twine and thus play rolled on uninterrupted.
With 1:35 left in the game, Boston used their timeout in effort to rally a comeback, but it was too late for the Bruins as Draisaitl (24) pocketed the empty net goal at 19:51 to seal the deal on a, 4-1, win for the Oilers.
Edmonton won, 4-1, despite being outshot by Boston, 36-26– including a season-high 21 shots on goal for the Bruins in the third period alone.
The Oilers left TD Garden with the final result and the advantage in giveaways (11-8), hits (31-29) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the B’s suffered the loss despite being even in blocked shots, 14-14.
Boston finished the matinee matchup 1/3 on the power play, while Edmonton went 0/2 on the advantage.
The Bruins fell to 15-4-2 when leading after the first period, 4-6-4 when trailing after two periods and 17-6-7 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
Boston finished their two-game homestand (0-1-1) and travels to Nashville to face the Predators next Tuesday. The Bruins return home for a Thursday night (Jan. 9th) matchup with the Winnipeg Jets before venturing on the road to visit the New York Islanders on Jan. 11th, the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 13th and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 14th.