WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY: Playing the Oilers for the first of two times this season (Feb. 18 in Edmonton the other), the Bruins are riding high on the heels of a 2-1 OT win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Bruins are now 4-0 in extra time this season (including shootouts) and improved to 4-4-0 at home. Boston is 1-2-0 against Western Conference opponents this season and 1-0-0 against teams in the Pacific Division. The Oilers are losers of three straight, including dropping their last contest 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. They enter Thursday with the worst point total in the Western Conference and are averaging the second-highest total of goals allowed per game (3.5) in the league this season. Edmonton is 0-3-1 on the road, but 4-1-0 against Eastern Conference opponents (2-0-0 against the Atlantic Division). Boston leads the all-time series between the two teams with a 44-17-6 record and has won 12 straight games against Edmonton. The Bruins last lost to the Oilers on Oct. 17, 2000 in Edmonton. The Oilers' last win in Boston was on Nov. 7, 1996.
MASKED MEN: The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Thursday, but it is unclear who will get the start in net. Backup Niklas Svedberg was the lone participant of the team’s two goalies Thursday morning, but it could have been just a morning off for Tuukka Rask seeing that the team practiced on Wednesday. Rask is 6-4-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in 10 games this season. Rask has won all three of his starts (one shutout) against Edmonton in his career, posting a 1.67 GAA and .924 SP. If Rask doesn’t play, Svedberg will make his fifth start this season. He is 2-2-0 with a 1.67 GAA and .940 SP in five total games played. Svedberg has never faced Edmonton. Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins confirmed Ben Scrivens will get the start in net for his team. Scrivens is 4-5-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .897 SP in 10 games (nine starts) this season. Scrivens has lost all three of his starts against Boston in his career, posting a 4.69 GAA and .848 SP.
SPOILED RETURN: Oilers captain and former Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will not play in Thursday night’s game as the result of a three-game suspension handed down from the league on Monday. Ference was suspended for a check to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian.
“Obviously you never want to get suspended, but to miss a game in this town, it’s a little extra kick in the butt,” Ference said. “It’s unfortunate, but I still get to see everybody, still get to make the trip, so that’s important.”
Ference played seven seasons with the Bruins, serving as an alternate captain and playing a large role in the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship.
“It’s as awesome as ever,” Ference said of the city. “It’s a special place. Too many friends and not enough time to see everybody. It’s wonderful.”
Former Bruin Benoit Pouliot is also a member of the Oilers.