Oilers vs Bruins Preview – McLellan believes in the Nuge, do you?

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Game: Edmonton Oilers (8-15-2) vs Boston Bruins (13-8-1)

Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta

Time: 7:30 PM MT

Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet One – Radio: 630 CHED

Edmonton Oilers Preview:

Trade the Nuge, Trade Eberle, Trade them all, right? Wrong.

As Dimitri Filipovic pointed out yesterday, once you trade Nugent-Hopkins he is no longer on your team. This preview isn’t going to be about trading the young guys, because while I do believe something has to give I don’t forsee it happening until the offseason.

This morning, Todd McLellan had some choice words to say about Nugent-Hopkins and the rest of the team:

When I look at Nuge, I think he’s a really valuable player to our team. When you go to the 2011 Draft, he’s played the second-most games out of anybody there. Him and Landeskog are heads and tails above anybody else when it comes to scoring. It’s not Nuge’s fault he’s 5’10”, he can’t change that. He uses what he has, night-in and night-out.

When asked about who Nugent-Hopkins reminds him of:
Joe Pavelski. Because he’s small, he’s competitive, he understands the game. You’ve got remember that Joe Pavelski played four years at Wisconsin before he even got to the league. I think Joe didn’t develop at Waterloo of the USHL until he was 19; Nuge had already put in 132 games in the NHL at that point. Nuge is 22 years old, you guys. He’s 22.

Am I defending Nuge? Absolutely I am, because I believe in him 100 percent.

-c/o Jonathan Willis

The praise received from McLellan is huge. This Oilers team has been down in the dumps for some time, and that shouldn’t be shouldered on Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle alone. Across the team, there have been some loathable performances and you don’t need any statistics to tell you that. The performance of players outside of the Oilers top six has been awful. The bottom six group of this team has not contributed nearly enough, while our defensive group has underperformed as well.

To put it simply, the collective performance is no where near the standard set out by the Oilers brass. In recent days, Peter Chiarelli and Bob Nicholson have BOTH come out making statements about how disappointing the beginning of this season has been. The truth is, I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team run with what they have this year.

Tonight, the Oilers are in tough against a strong Bruins team that has won seven of their last ten games, including the 5-game win streak they are currently riding. Bruins C David Krejci is riding a two game point streak, and leads all Bruins players with 24 points in 22 games.

One thing the Oilers have going for them is their record against the East. While it isn’t phenomenal, a 5-5-1 record is something to hold onto. Hopefully the Oilers will continue their success tonight.

The Bruins are a team that comes out strong out of the gate. 70% of the teams goals have been scored in the first two periods of the game. In contrast, the Oilers have allowed 64% of their Goals Against to come in the first two periods.

The Oilers need to weather the storm early, otherwise we could be in for a long night.

Walter Foddis’ Pregame Metrics:


The Otherside:

Forward Landon Ferraro moved up from the fourth line to center Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes on the third line Tuesday for the second straight practice. Brett Connolly has practiced with the fourth line. Defenseman Kevan Miller, who has missed the past five games with a concussion, continued his recovery with another practice; he took line rushes with Joe Morrow on the fourth pair. The Bruins practiced at Rexall Place in preparation for three games in four nights; they have won a season-best five games in a row. “We’re taking this road trip as something separate,” Connolly told the Bruins website. ‘We’ve won five in a row and we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves. But I think if you ask some of the guys, we probably haven’t played that well for five wins. But we’ll take it.” – nhl.com

Line Combos and Starting Goalies c/o Left Wing Lock:

Oilers (Anders Nilsson):

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Bruins (Tukka Rask): 
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Any ideas on how to improve my game previews? Send me an email at zjlaing@gmail.com.


Zach Laing Written by: