The Edmonton Oilers have no desire to prove they’re not afraid of the big, bad Boston Bruins. Instead of trying to stand up physically to the Eastern Conference brutes, coach Dallas Eakins wants his players to use their speed and skill tonight at Rexall Place.
“I think it might not be the smartest game plan to try and match them physically,” Eakins said, per NHL.com. “If you don’t match up that way, there’s no use trying to do it. I want to use more of our speed and our smarts against them.
“I’m not sure if they’re as big as they have been in the past. They still have some heavy guys, but I want to get into a game where we’re playing quick with really good puck support, and if we do have to give up the puck, then we’re going to be first to it. To go in and try to match a team like this physically, I don’t think it gives us a chance to win the game.”
The Bruins don’t have a long list of weaknesses, but they have at times had trouble against fast teams. (See: last year’s playoffs, when they nearly lost to the Leafs.)
After a disastrous 4-15-2 start to the season, Edmonton is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games.
Related: The Oilers are doing that thing where they show their vast potential again
Add Daniel Paille to the growing list of Boston Bruins currently out of the lineup due to injury, and in Shawn Thornton’s case a suspension.
Paille has been sent been sent back to Boston while the Bruins continue their road trip through Western Canada, due to an undisclosed upper-body injury, according to the club’s Twitter account.
Paille, 29, has three goals and five points in 30 games for Boston this season.
The Bruins are already without forwards Loui Eriksson (concussion, put on injured reserve); Chris Kelly (broken ankle, put on long-term injured reserve); Dougie Hamilton (lower-body); and Adam McQuaid (lower-body).
The Bruins continue their road trip Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers, then it’s on to Vancouver to play the Canucks.
That Saturday night game at Rogers Arena will be the first time the Bruins have played in Vancouver since winning the Stanley Cup in Game 7 of the championship series against the Canucks.
Loui Eriksson’s concussion-marred campaign continued on Tuesday, as the Bruins announced they put the Swedish winger on injured reserve.
Forward Nick Johnson has been recalled from AHL Providence on an emergency basis to replace Eriksson in the lineup.
Eriksson, 28, was hurt on Saturday after a big open-ice hit from Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik. The hit occurred early in the first period and Eriksson, who’d played just 21 seconds prior to the collision, left the game and didn’t return.
This is second concussion Eriksson has suffered in the last two months. The first occurred in late October when Buffalo forward John Scott nailed him with a headshot, one that shelved Eriksson for five games.
Despite all the injuries, the former Dallas alternate captain has produced fairly well for Boston this year, scoring 14 points in 24 games while averaging 16:32 TOI per night.
The Boston Bruins have been hit hard by injuries, but they got some encouraging news yesterday.
Mere days after Johnny Boychuk’s scary fall, he was able to participate in a Bruins’ practice.
“It was all right; it didn’t feel awesome,” Boychuk told the Boston Herald. “I haven’t skated in five days or so. But at least I got back on the ice and moved around a little. It’s still pretty stiff. It’s been loosening up every day. We’ll see how it feels (Tuesday).”
The Bruins are currently without defensemen Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton, which means that if Boychuk isn’t available, then Boston will have to call someone up before tonight’s match against the Calgary Flames.
Bruins coach Claude Julien suggested that they haven’t done that yet because they’re still hoping it won’t be necessary.
Meanwhile, Boston is also missing forwards Chris Kelly (ankle), Loui Eriksson (concussion), and Shawn Thornton (suspended pending hearing).
Hamilton will be out 2-4 weeks with his lower-body injury, the club reported today. Also, Dan Paille has an upper-body issue that’ll keep him out of the Calgary contest.
The Boston Bruins won both of their games this weekend, yet the past two contests have been costly. You can add defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the injured list, as the team announced that he’ll miss at least one week with a lower-body issue suffered on Sunday.
That’s not the only news for the Bruins’ blueline tonight. Kevan Miller is a little banged up – though he isn’t expected to miss time – after this questionable check by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (H/T to Empty Netters’ Seth Rorabaugh):
Phaneuf didn’t receive a penalty for that hit. Miller scored his first goal tonight, so Sunday presented highs and lows for the 26-year-old.
The best news might be that head coach Claude Julien is “more optimistic than pessimistic” that Johnny Boychuk can play against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. That’s pretty great news considering his fall from last week:
Boston will play its next three games in Canada, as they face the Flames, Oilers and Canucks. That could be a challenging trip (maybe more physically than anything else) for a banged-up team.