Ference, Oilers look to halt Bruins' winning streak

The Sports Network
12/12/2013 11:44:58 AM
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Oilers captain Andrew Ference plays his first game against his old team tonight as Edmonton hosts the Boston Bruins at Rexall Place.

The Oilers are 3-1-1 so far in December and are coming off Tuesday's 5-4 overtime win against visiting Carolina. Jordan Eberle's power-play goal 1:48 into the extra session saved two points for the Oilers, who led the game by a 4-1 score early in the second period before letting the Hurricanes back into the contest.

The Oilers coughed up a 4-1 lead over a period and a half, with Jeff Skinner's goal late in the third tying it for Carolina. But Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk was sent off 19 seconds into overtime, penalized for boarding after hitting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from behind in the corner to give the Oilers a 4- on-3. Eberle then scored on a second-chance shot through the legs of Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera, who was covering the net on the left side for Cam Ward.

"It was a weird game but we found a way to win," Eberle said.

Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Jesse Joensuu and Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers, who moved to 2-1-1 on a five-game homestand that ends tonight.

Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves for Tuesday's win and he could get the start again on Thursday. Dubnyk is 0-2-0 with a 4.57 goals against average in two career games against the Bruins, while Rask boasts a 3-0 record and a 1.67 GAA in three lifetime outings versus the Oilers.

The Bruins  take aim at a fourth consecutive victory when they continue a four-game road trip.

The Bruins picked up a third win in a row and improved to 2-0 on their current swing with Tuesday's comeback win in Calgary. Boston scored a pair of goals late in the third period to rally for a 2-1 win on the night Jarome Iginla returned to the Saddledome.

Boston made Iginla's return to Calgary a triumphant one, as the club overcame a 1-0 third-period deficit to win in regulation. Reilly Smith potted the game- winner for the Bruins with 4:33 left to play, a mere 98 seconds after David Krejci recorded the equalizer with the Bruins on the power play.

Iginla, the Flames' all-time leader in goals (525), points (1,095) and games played (1,219), faced the club he spent 16 highly productive seasons with for the first time since Calgary traded its longtime captain to Pittsburgh during last April's trade deadline. The revered 36-year-old received a warm and rousing ovation from the home crowd during postgame introductions.

"It brought back a lot of great memories," Iginla said of his return.

Tuukka Rask stopped 26-of-27 shots to help Boston improve to 13-3-1 over its last 17 games, a stretch that has vaulted the Bruins into first place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston won on Tuesday despite playing without a handful of players due to injuries, and another because of an impending suspension.

Defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Adam McQuaid missed the last game with lower- body injuries, while forwards Loui Eriksson (concussion), Daniel Paille (upper body) and Chris Kelly (broken ankle) also sat out with various ailments. All of those players are expected to miss Thursday's game, including Hamilton, who will miss 2-to-4 weeks after suffering an injury in Sunday's win at Toronto.

Meanwhile, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton is facing a suspension for his actions in Saturday's win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thornton, who grabbed Brooks Orpik of the Penguins from behind during a scrum and began punching him, is scheduled to have an in-person hearing with the league on Friday and he could be suspended for six or more games.

Even with a short-handed lineup, the Bruins hope to continue their dominance of the Oilers on Thursday. Boston has won 10 straight in this series overall and has taken four in a row and 10 of the last 13 meetings in Edmonton.

Boston is 8-5-0 on the road this season and will complete its current trek in Saturday's game against Vancouver.

Andrew Ference  (Photo: Derek Leung/ Getty Images)


(Photo: Derek Leung/ Getty Images)
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