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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Oilers, Saturday 10-31

The Bruins begin their busy Halloween weekend this afternoon, with a matinee matchup against the Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden.

The Oilers (7-5-1) are just three seasons removed from an improbable Stanley Cup run, a run that ended with a Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Finals. Since then, Edmonton has missed the playoffs in the last two seasons.

Now we take a closer look at some newsworthy notes before today’s puck is dropped…

  • The Oilers are coming off an exciting 6-5 shootout win Thursday night over Detroit. Before that, Edmonton had lost 3 straight games, including 2 shutout defeats.
  • Edmonton fell to the Bruins in their only meeting last season. The two teams went scoreless through 60 minutes of hockey, but the tie was finally broken by Dennis Wideman in OT, giving Boston a 1-0 victory in Edmonton.
  • The Oilers haven’t won in Boston in nearly 13 years, since a 6-0 victory back on November 7th, 1996.
  • Edmonton’s scoring is led by two of their wingers. Dustin Penner, currently ranked third in the league in points, has 9 goals and 10 assists in just 13 games. Also, Ales Hemsky follows that with 4 goals and 11 assists, good for a tie for 10th in the league’s points race.
  • In the crease, Edmonton is led by first-year Oiler Nikolai Khabibulin (6-4-1, 3.22GAA). Khabibulin has faced 375 shots already this season, second only to Colorado’s Craig Anderson. The “Bulin Wall” is backed up by youngster Jeff Deslauriers (1-1-0, 1.51GAA).
  • The Oilers rank 28th in the NHL in both shots per game (25.7) and shots against per game (34.2). Their faceoff percentage also ranks very low at 47.7%, good for 26th in the league.
  • Edmonton’s roster features only one American born player, defenseman and Minneapolis native Tom Gilbert.
  • The Oilers’ roster has been hit hard by both the injury bug and the flu bug this season. Ladislav Smid contracted the H1N1 virus, while Gilbert Brule, Denis Grebeshkov, Lubomir Visnovsky, Ales Hemsky, Mike Comrie, Dustin Penner, and Tom Gilbert have all experienced flu-like symptoms or felt under the weather. On top of that, winger Fernando Pisani (back), defenseman Steve Staios (concussion), forward Ryan Stone (knee), defenseman Sheldon Souray (concussion) and center Marc Pouliot (pubic bone… yes that’s right, he hurt his pubic bone) are on injured reserve.

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