Had they beaten the Edmonton Oilers and the good stuff snapped, the Boston Bruins could have clinched a playoff berth on Thursday. Instead, the Oilers came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Bruins 3-2, ending Boston’s 10-game winning streak and postponing playoff qualification.
It’s the first time this season the Bruins have lost in regulation after building a first-period lead. Boston hadn’t lost at all since losing a 2-1 decision to the Capitals on Feb. 11.
Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored twice in the first quarter, but the Oilers wouldn’t walk away. Impressively, Edmonton beat Boston despite the absence of Connor McDavid on the scoresheet. Evan Bouchard scored the lone goal of the second period on a broken play and Ryan McLeod tied the game in the third period. Darnell Nurse clinched the match winner with less than five minutes remaining to complete the comeback.
Oilers prepare for playoffs, Bruins could still make history
On paper, the Oilers have faced a pretty tough schedule, so their recent solid play (two-game winning streak, wins in four of five) inspires real optimism. In that five-game stretch, they’ve beaten the Maple Leafs, the Sabers, shared two meetings with the Jets and now own that victory over the Bruins. As the rest of the Pacific Division also heats up, the Oilers may not be able to crack the top three, but their grip is getting stronger on the top wildcard spot with 80 points in 66 games played.
Stranger things have happened, but it sure looks like Edmonton will make the playoffs, so they can aim to tweak as much as anything else.
Of course, it’s not the end of the world for the Bruins. Although they would have needed a few dominoes to clinch a playoff spot on Thursday, it’s only a matter of time before they lock in just about everything, including the Presidents’ Trophy. From a regular season perspective, they’re just chasing history.
For example, they can still become the fastest team to 50 regular season wins. In 2018-19, the Tampa Bay Lightning tied the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96 by winning 50 of 66 games played. The Bruins could set that record if they win either game on a straight weekend against Detroit. Failing that, the Bruins could tie the game by beating the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
So the Oilers kinda spoiled the party for the Bruins, but this game could be a very interesting one if these two teams manage to meet again in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. It’s not such an outrageous thought. given the strength of both teams after the trade deadline.
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