Bruins edge Oilers to overshadow McDavid's 50th goal
EDMONTON — The Boston Bruins continue to set a record-threatening pace.
Pavel Zacha’s late second-period goal stood up as the game winner as the Bruins continued their spectacular season with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. With the victory they became the fastest team to record 46 wins in NHL history, needing just 59 games to do so.
“We have a lot of guys in our locker room that know how to play the right way and know how to end games,” said Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, whose team improved to an impressive 32-0-2 record when leading after 40 minutes.
Tomas Nosek and Nick Foligno also scored for the Bruins (46-8-5), who extended their winning streak to seven games. It is the third time Boston has had a string of victories reach seven games this season.
“I think we’re proud of our process and what it’s allowed us to do and be, but I still think there’s room to grow,” Foligno said. "I still think there are little areas we can get better in. I’m not trying to sound tacky, it’s just the reality of our team.
"I don’t think anyone is satisfied here, I think we’re really excited about our group, but I think we all know there is more to do. That’s the mindset that’s allowed us to have the success we’ve had.”
Connor McDavid scored twice to reach 50 goals on the season for the Oilers (32-21-8), who have lost two straight, but have still managed to go 11-4-6 in their last 21 outings.
“It’s disappointing, obviously,” McDavid said. “They’re the best team in the league. I thought we played them hard and gave ourselves a chance to win.
"It’s good for our confidence to know that we can play with them. That’s the league’s best and we played with them. That’s a good sign.”
There was a quick start to the scoring in a spirited first period.
McDavid took a long stretch pass from Leon Draisaitl up the left boards before cutting in and beating Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman through the legs 2:17 into the opening frame for his league-leading 49th goal.
The Bruins responded just 13 seconds later as a defensive giveaway ended up with the puck being deflected in front to Nosek, who sent his fourth of the season past Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner.
Boston took the lead with just under five minutes to play in the first on a nice give-and-go play with Charlie Coyle making a deft feed to Foligno, who beat Skinner stick-side for his 10th.
Edmonton tied it at 12:20 of the second period with the teams playing four players aside as Klim Kostin came out of the box and hustled to feed the puck to McDavid who undressed Swayman with a deke to record his 50th goal in his 61st game of the season. Only Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri have hit the mark faster in Oilers' history. It was also McDavid’s eighth goal in the last four games.
“He just drives our team,” said Oilers forward Zach Hyman. “He is the best player in the world. He is humble about it. He has really taken a step in regards to attacking the net more and taking it on himself and I think you see the results.”
Boston made it 3-2 with just 30 seconds to play in the second, as Zacha made a diving poke to beat Skinner’s own poke-check attempt and chip it over his shoulder and into the net for his 14th.
Kostin, who was assessed a major penalty for a hit on David Krejci before a review showed that it was the Boston forward’s own stick that hit him, negating any penalty, then took a double-minor for high-sticking Patrice Bergeron late in the third to prevent Edmonton from tying the game, as the third remained scoreless.
Oilers forward Klim Kostin returned to the lineup after missing the last five games due to an illness. To make room for him on the roster, the Oilers were forced to send Devin Shore to Bakersfield of the AHL. … Out for the Oilers were Ryan Murray (back) and Evander Kane (upper body). Kane’s health is reportedly improving, but he remains day-to-day. … Out with injuries for the Bruins were Vinni Lettieri (lower body) and Taylor Hall (lower body). Hall returned to Boston for evaluation, but it is believed the forward's injury is not serious. … The game featured the league’s top two goal scorers this season in McDavid and Boston’s David Pastrnak. … McDavid has more games with four-plus points this season (10) than games with zero points (6). … Boston came into the game sporting an impressive 31-0-2 record when leading after 40 minutes.
The Bruins are right back at it on Tuesday, as they finish a four-game swing against Pacific Division teams in Calgary against the Flames.
The Oilers play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, the second game of a three-game homestand.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2023.