Some games are more interesting than others on the 82-game NHL regular season schedule, and that is certainly the case for the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Call it Connor vs. Goliath. Call it a potential 2023 Stanley Cup Final preview, if you’d like. Certainly, that would make those in the NHL corner offices in New York City pretty happy if that were to play out this postseason.
You could even call it a showcase of the NHL’s top two goal-scorers this season with Connor McDavid and David Pastrnak patrolling the ice, even if Pastrnak has fallen way behind the no-doubt Hart Trophy winner in McDavid currently sitting at 54 goals scored in 65 games and counting.
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“It’s tough. [McDavid] is playing with that speed, but his eyes are up so he’s never telegraphing a pass,” said Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who will be playing his left “off” side with Derek Forbort against Edmonton. “You can’t really angle him off to any area because he can get wherever he wants on the ice. He seems to get better every year and it’s so impressive to see. We’re going to have our hands full tonight.”
Whatever you want to call it, it should be appointment viewing when the Boston Bruins host the Oilers on Thursday night starting at 730 pm, and only on ESPN+ for those furiously scrambling around to watch the game on television.
For the Boston Bruins, it’s obviously another chance to tack on to their 10-game win streak and slay another dragon with McDavid hitting the TD Garden ice. The key is slowing down the Oilers attack, which is easier said than done.
Any challenge a hockey team can find when they are 49-8-5 on the season is a plus, particularly when the B’s are closing in on clinching a Stanley Cup playoff spot even before the calendar hits St. Patrick’s Day.
“I think I said this a week ago, you don’t know if you can stop it, you just try to slow it down any way you can,” said Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, who hears plenty about McDavid and the Oilers as an Edmonton native. “There’s different ways to try to do it. Honestly, it’s puck management. If we have the puck and he doesn’t, things are better for us. It comes down to as simple as that and just being in the right spot…speed, that’s the biggest thing. I think that’s the thing every single team has to key on.”
In their last meeting in Edmonton last week, McDavid went off for two goals and the rest of the Oil attack was held silent in a 3-2 win for the Bruins in Edmonton where Jeremy Swayman backstopped a great team effort from the Black and Gold.