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Oilers, Bruins bring hefty firepower to contest

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Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers are set to visit Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in a matchup of teams that are both off to good starts.

Edmonton had won four straight and nine of its first 10 games to open the season before falling 4-2 against the Red Wings on Tuesday in Detroit.

Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner conceded three unanswered goals to open the game before Jesse Puljujarvi scored late in the second period and captain Connor McDavid tallied early in the third, but Edmonton’s comeback bid fell short.

“Didn’t love the start and dug ourselves in a hole again,” McDavid said. “I liked our response and liked our third period. We definitely had enough chances to tie the game but we can’t keep digging ourselves in that type of hole.”

Despite the loss, McDavid’s solid stretch continued with his ninth goal of the season. Both McDavid and Draisaitl rank among the league leaders in points and goals. Both had an NHL-best 23 points after 11 games, while Draisaitl’s team-high 10 goals ranked second behind Washington star Alex Ovechkin’s 11.

According to Sportsnet, it is the first time the Oilers have had two players record at least 23 points through their first 11 games since Wayne Gretzky (31) and Jari Kurri (23) achieved the feat in the 1984-85 season.

Edmonton right wing Zack Kassian left the game against Detroit with a lower-body injury, leaving his status for Thursday’s game uncertain.

Boston is coming off a 3-2 home win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. Bergeron’s late goal capped the Bruins’ three-goal outburst in the second period and netminder Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves to preserve the win.

The win was the Bruins’ third in four games and sixth in 10 tries to open the campaign.

Bergeron’s goal was his fifth in his last three games after his four-goal barrage against Detroit last Thursday. The captain’s five goals are tied with Brad Marchand — who also scored against the Senators — for the team lead.

Boston’s core four of Marchand (15 points), Bergeron (nine points), David Pastrnak (three goals, five assists) and Taylor Hall (three goals, four assists) have combined for 16 of the team’s 27 goals and 39 of 66 total points early on.

The imbalance of production has led Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy to tinker with the team’s lineup. Cassidy put prospect Jack Studnicka on the third-line right wing Tuesday before demoting the forward to Providence of the American Hockey League after the game.

“In a team there’s going to be some ups-and-downs,” Bergeron said. “If you have that adversity early, it can be a good thing. So I think you have to work through it, and I definitely believe in everyone.”

Meanwhile, Swayman has been a force at home after improving to 4-0-0 this season at TD Garden. The rookie goalie has posted a .951 save percentage and a 0.98 goals-against average in home games this season.

Boston’s goaltending is tied for 14th in the league with a 2.80 goals-against average while Edmonton enters tied for 18th while allowing 2.91 per game.

–Field Level Media

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