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Bruins look for another complete-game effort against visiting Oilers

Mar 4, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) and forward Justin Brazeau (55) celebrate a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Jim Montgomery knew exactly what he was looking for out of his Boston Bruins team.

“We’ve been talking about getting our game going — and raising our level to get ready for the playoffs,” Montgomery said of the aftermath of a 5-1 road loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Mission accomplished.

Just a night after a complete team effort produced a 4-1 road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins will look to continue down the right track on Tuesday when they entertain another high-skill team in the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

Not only did Pavel Zacha post his first multi-goal game of the season and Morgan Geekie score his fourth goal in three games, but Jeremy Swayman’s 32-save effort backstopped a gem of a game that had often been missing of late.

“The whole game (was strong). We finally put up a good 60 minutes,” Bruins forward David Pastrnak said. “It’s a huge step forward, and a big win for our team.”

Pastrnak dished out three assists against Toronto, giving him eight points in his last four games and 90 for the season. The top-scoring winger is the eighth player in Bruins franchise history to reach that mark in consecutive seasons.

Prior to Monday, Boston had allowed three or more goals in 10 of its previous 11 games dating back to a 4-0 shutout of the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 8. That game was also the last in which Boston had more than a two-goal lead through two periods.

The Bruins, who are just 5-4-5 since the All-Star break, will look to carry Monday’s momentum into a stretch that includes seven out of eight games on home ice.

A chance at sweeping the four-game season series from Toronto comes on Thursday.

“We take the positive out of it (whether an effort like Saturday’s or Monday’s), we learn,” Pastrnak said.

The Oilers — who sit second in the Pacific Division but with four games in hand on the first-place Vancouver Canucks — are on a four-game win streak and begin a four-game road trip after cruising to a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

It was a good day up and down the Edmonton lineup as six players recorded multiple points, including Zach Hyman (two goals), Leon Draisaitl (three assists), Connor McDavid and Ryan McLeod (one goal, one assist each).

“You need those games every once in a while, but we put a lot of work into creating a game like that. It doesn’t just happen,” Draisaitl said. “We put a lot of work into it and did the little things right. Every once in a while a game like that is nice.”

Draisaitl has three goals and 10 points across his last six games.

McDavid is on an 11-game point streak over which he has posted 26 points, 24 of which are assists.

Despite those incredible scoring talents, great goaltending has been a key to the recent run. Calvin Pickard, who has won eight of his 11 starts, made 22 stops against Pittsburgh.

“Maybe three of the (last four games) we could have easily lost,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “Goaltending was outstanding. So, good defense usually wins you games. You look at our goals-against, down. And also our penalty kill is looking a lot better than it had been previously.”

–Field Level Media

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