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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oilers Remind Us to Enjoy the Bruins' Success While They are Near the Top

Neither Wayne Gretzky nor his skanky daughter Paulina is not walking through that door. I know I thought the same thing when the Bruins faced the Islanders last week but the Oilers reiterated this cold hard fact to me: dynasties or great teams in the NHL (or any sport) don't last forever. I use the Islanders and Oilers as an example since no team was more dominant than them in the 80s and early 90s but what have they done since then? Today, Edmonton (18-33-6) came to TD Garden and left with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Bruins (35-16-3) in their back pocket.

Boston swept the two-game season series with Edmonton, outscoring them 8-2. Besides Andrew Ference's return to the Garden and the ultra rare Chad Johnson (22 saves) shutout-the second of his NHL career-there really wasn't much to this one. Frankly the Oilers are a disgrace and I don't know how any of their fans have stuck with them the last decade as they've continually bungled top draft picks or simply not developed them properly. But hey, I hear the weather is great in Edmonton this time of year.

They served as the perfect cupcake for the B's who were licking their wounds a bit after Thursday's lifeless 4-1 loss to the Canadiens. Boston outshot Edmonton 9-2 in the first period but couldn't beat Ben Scrivens (37 saves). That changed in the second period as David Krejci fired a power play shot from the point that deflected off an Oiler and in the net at 2:06. Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic assisted on Krejci's 12th goal of the season.

Edmonton had to be thrilled to only trail 1-0 heading into the third period but that didn't last for long as Dougie Hamilton made it 2-0 at 6:43. He followed his own rebound and wrapped around the goal-somewhere Johnson flinched-and shot it by Scrivens from a tough angle. It was his sixth goal of the season (2nd in as many games), assisted by Zdeno Chara and Carl Soderberg.

Speaking of the one-eyed Swede, he has really become a solid player for the Bruins. He's played some center the last two games with Chris Kelly returning to the lineup and getting his feet under him. Soderberg put this out of reach at 13:05 when he roofed a snipe of a shot for his eighth goal of the season, 3-0 Boston. Kelly and Matt Bartkowski had the assists.

The Bruins added one more power play goal, their prettiest score of the afternoon, when Torey Krug (12th goal of the season) finished tic-tac-toe passing from Chara and Iginla at 15:42.

Boston wraps up this four-game homestand on Tuesday (7, NESN) vs. Vancouver (27-20-9, 4th in Pacific Division). There are plenty of subplots in that game already: 1) John Tortorella returns from his suspension. 2) It is Chara's last game before he leaves for Sochi (he's the flag-bearer for Slovakia at the Opening Ceremonies). 3) The Canucks smoked the B's 6-2 on Dec. 14 in Vancouver, something which Boston's coaches will be sure to remind the players a few times between now and Tuesday night.

UPDATE 2/3: The Bruins recalled defenseman David Warsofsky from Providence.

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