Boston Bruins vs Edmonton Oilers: Debating the Big Questions

NHL fans circled their calendars for quite some time this Thursday, March 9.

Tonight’s game featuring the Boston Bruins against the Edmonton Oilers (7:30 ET, exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu) isn’t just a rematch of the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals — although it probably Is Preview of the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals.

History is being made from both the sides. The Bruins are on pace for 65 wins and 136 points this season, which would both be NHL records (current points are 62 and 132, respectively). They were the fastest team in NHL history to reach 100 points. Goaltender Linus Ullmark could threaten the NHL record for wins and is well on his way to the Vezina Trophy.

On the other hand, Connor McDavid leads the league with 54 goals and 124 points – he’s 10 points clear of the league’s No. 2 in goals (David Pastrnak of Boston), and 28 points clear of No. 2 in points (the Edmonton team). partner of Leon) Draisital). In terms of momentum, he is on his way to 68 goals and 156 points. The 124 points is already ahead of McDavid’s league-leading points total from 2021-22, and if he stays at his current pace, it will be the most since Mario Lemieux’s 161 in 1995-96.

If you weren’t already sold on tuning in, we’ve gathered our hockey journalists here to debate the big questions coming into this matchup:

The Bruins would end the season with _____ wins and _____ points.

Ryan S. Clarke: Let’s go with 65 wins and 136 points. They’ve won 79% of their games this season and…it’s ridiculous when you say it out loud. The numbers I cited are what would happen if the Bruins kept going at their current pace.

That’s not to say those numbers can’t change. They definitely can. But at this point, it’s hard to argue against a team that added at the trade deadline to become even more unstoppable.

Victoria Matias: The Bruins would lose two of their final 20 in regulation and two in overtime. That makes 49 plus 16 — 1… — 65 wins and 137 points. Patrice Bergeron & Co. not only care about breaking the record, they want to break it. At the same time, this team intends to ride in the playoffs as much as possible.

Kristen Shilton: Boston would finish with 64 wins and 134 points. Once the Bruins break the NHL record for most regular-season wins — which seems like a foregone conclusion at this point — it only makes sense that they would rest some of their veterans. This is in preparation for what they hope – and we all believe – will be a long spring ahead.

As good as these Bruins have been over the past several months, the real Boston Behemoth should emerge in earnest in April.

Greg Wyshinski: The Bruins would end up breaking the NHL record for most in a regular season with 63 wins and tying the 1976–77 Montreal Canadiens for the most in a single season in NHL history with 132 points. (Montreal wins the tiebreaker, having done it in 80 games.)

In addition to being a steamroller, Boston has a very manageable schedule the rest of the way, with an equal number of playoff contenders and lottery teams. They will be looking to make history, then give their veteran players a much-deserved respite before the tough post-season work.

Connor McDavid and David Pasternak are currently leading the league in goals. Who will win Rocket Richard at the end of the season?

Clark: It’s probably going to be McDavid or Pasternak. However, if we have to choose between the two of them, Tage Thompson is probably the answer.

As of Thursday, Thompson is only two goals behind Pasternak. Remember, Thomson scored 13 goals in the month of December. He has shown that he can string together these remarkable scoring streaks. Now he’s trying to do that while the Sabers are fighting for a playoff spot. He seems like the strongest non-McDavid/non-Pasternak candidate.

Matias: Rockets win with McDavid 70, screams all the way. Mikko Rantanen finished second with 55, shaming many of us for not paying enough comparative attention to him this season.

Shilton: It’s hard to bet on McDavid against a player who has scored multiple goals in 12 of 65 games this season (so far). McDavid can flip a switch like no one else in hockey.

It would really take an involuntary dry spell or a major injury to prevent McDavid from winning the Rockets. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see McDavid finish the season with 70 goals.

Vyshinsky: McDavid almost set an NHL record for consecutive multiple goal games, and I don’t see this scoring bender ending anytime soon.

I’d say Conner will end up with 69 total goals as he finishes the best point-scoring season in NHL history not named Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux.

Will This Be Our 2023 Stanley Cup Finals Matchup? If not, who got it?

Clark: Not now. Boston looks like it has everything it takes to reach the Cup Finals this season. But it’s not often that the Presidents’ Trophy winner also brings home the Stanley Cup. Yet, this version of the Bruins looks like it just might be different.

Edmonton is a tough one. This is a team that has struggled to find consistency. But it could also play to the Oilers’ advantage, given that the West has been so tight this year that no clear favorite has yet broken through.

Matias: Why not? After losing all eight games in regulation since October, Now Bruins expected to drop that total by half in a given stretch of two weeks or less? He doesn’t understand maths. Plus, the club is even better in its current form with Dmitry Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi. Never mind that forward Taylor Hall could be good to rejoin the army once we reach the knockout stages.

Out West, the club’s best player in the world has finally acquired a much-needed defensive zone dominance in Mattias Ekholm. It helps. Very. From a tight competitive crowd including the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche – who fail A better option to grab to serve as a second-line center – the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild stand an equally good chance of reaching the Oilers Sport Final Round.

Shilton: Oops. If only! Imagine, first of all, three rounds of watching Connor McDavid in the playoffs. That is good theatre. However, Edmonton’s post-season track record makes it difficult to anoint it as a true Cup Finals contender just yet. We all know the game changes come playoff time. Can the Oilers bring the necessary defensive elements to go all the way?

The Bruins, on the other hand, have demonstrated their abilities throughout the season. Aside from the whole “Presidents’ Trophy winners never get anywhere” narrative, there is zero flaw in arguing that Boston is a Cup Final favorite. The Western Conference has more dark horses than the East. Thus, it is hard to predict who will come out on top.

Vyshinsky: We’ve got a team from my preseason Stanley Cup Finals, and that’s the Oilers. My preseason pick was the Oilers against the Carolina Hurricanes, as we party like it’s 2006. I’ll stick with it for as long as I can, in the hopes that if it becomes a hit I’ll look like a genius.

But if you’re looking for a spicy take on the Bruins, here it is: I’m taking the field against Boston in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The next three best teams in the entire NHL after the Bruins are the Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who are seeking a fourth straight trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the New York Rangers are both in or near the top 10. There’s a chance Bruce could face Sidney Crosby in the first round of the playoffs – and anyone who watched the Pittsburgh Penguins’ series against the Rangers last season knows how he can get his wish on the series.

Maybe there is a reason why the entire pre-built business deadline moves forward. Those teams may not view the Boston Juggernaut as invincible.

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