A heavyweight tilt broke out between Luke Gazdic of the Edmonton Oilers and Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins during Thursday’s game.
The two traded some heavy shots in a lengthy scrap in the second period. It was, however, odd to see Lucic drop the gloves in that situation. At the time, the Bruins had a two-goal lead. The Oilers made it close with a pair of second period goals from David Perron, but the Bruins, thanks to a two-goal night from Jarome Iginla, came away with a 4-2 win.
Gazdic engaged Lucic along the boards and challenged him a couple of times in the span of about eight seconds, before Lucic finally obliged.
“He’s a strong guy and I have a lot of respect for him. It was a good measuring stick for me,” said Gazdic of Lucic, as per the Oilers’ Twitter account.
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.