BRUINS (21-8-2) at OILERS (11-18-3)
TV: NESN, SNET-EDM
Last 10: Boston 7-2-1; Edmonton 6-3-1
Season series: The first of two games. When these teams played Nov. 10, 2011, the Boston Bruins defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 at TD Garden.
Big story: The top seed in the Eastern Conference will square off against the 14th seed in the West. The Oilers, 2-1-1 on a five-game homestand, will look to end it on a high note. The Bruins seem to be hitting their stride, winning three straight (and seven of nine) despite injuries to key players.
Bruins: Overshadowed by Jarome Iginla's return to Calgary on Tuesday was the continued emergence of Boston's young players. With the Bruins skating in quicksand for most of the night -- the Flames outshot the Bruins 20-9 through 40 minutes and held a 1-0 lead heading into the third period -- Torey Krug and Reilly Smith provided a crucial third-period lift. Krug's point shot was deflected by David Krejci for the tying goal, and 98 seconds later Smith scored a fantastic solo goal. That 2-1 result made it a happy homecoming for Iginla.
"As a team, all the way around, in the third period we came out and guys, each line, we got a lot better and it was fun," Iginla said. "We were just pushing for that tying goal and we were able to get it there on the power play and then to see [Smith] go on a nice move. It was fun. Third-period comebacks are always fun and especially in an already memorable game for myself. It was a nice ending."
Shawn Thornton is out; he faces an in-person disciplinary hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday.
Oilers: A win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday gave Edmonton seven wins in 11 games, the Oilers' best stretch of the season. However, the 5-4 overtime victory was more dicey than it needed to be. The Oilers had a 4-1 lead early in the second period, but allowed the Hurricanes to chip away at the lead over the final 30 minutes. Jordan Eberle scored the deciding goal 1:48 into overtime
"We played extremely well in the first and for a little bit in the second, and then completely took our foot off the gas," Eberle said. "I don't know what it was, but we just started turning pucks over and losing battles and playing bad defensively. It's frustrating when that happens, but we found a way to win and that's the biggest thing."
Who's hot: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has three wins in his past four starts, with a .932 save percentage. … Oilers forward Taylor Hall has five goals and two assists over his past three games.
Injury report: Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk returned Tuesday, but left wing Daniel Paille (upper body) has returned to Boston and is out for at least the remainder of this trip. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton (lower body) will miss 2-4 weeks. Defenseman Adam McQuaid (lower body), and forwards Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Chris Kelly (broken ankle) are on injured reserve. … Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry (head) is back in the lineup, but center Boyd Gordon (shoulder) is questionable. Left wing Ryan Smyth (neck) and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov (neck) are out indefinitely.
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