EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)Pavel Zacha scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and the league-leading Boston Bruins beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Monday night for their seventh straight win.
Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek also scored for the Bruins, and Dmitry Orlov had two assists for his first points since being acquired from Washington last week. Jeremy Swayman stopped 22 shots to win his third straight start and eighth in his last 10.
The Bruins became the fastest team to record 46 wins in NHL history, needing just 59 games to do so.
”We have a lot of guys in our locker room that know how to play the right way and know how to end games,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said after his team improved to 32-0-2 record when leading after 40 minutes.
Boston has its third winning streak of at least seven games this season.
”I think we’re proud of our process and what it’s allowed us to do and be, but I still think there’s room to grow,” Foligno said. ”I still think there are little areas we can get better in. I’m not trying to sound tacky, it’s just the reality of our team.
”I don’t think anyone is satisfied here, I think we’re really excited about our group, but I think we all know there is more to do. That’s the mindset that’s allowed us to have the success we’ve had.”
Connor McDavid scored twice to reach the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career for the Oilers, who have lost two straight in regulation after a five-game point streak (2-0-3). Still, Edmonton is 11-4-6 in its last 21 games. Stuart Skinner had 25 saves.
”It’s disappointing, obviously,” McDavid said. ”They’re the best team in the league. I thought we played them hard and gave ourselves a chance to win. … It’s good for our confidence to know that we can play with them. That’s the league’s best and we played with them. That’s a good sign.”
Zacha gave the Bruins their second lead of the night with 30 seconds left in the middle period. David Pastrnak fired a shot from the left slot that hit Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci’s skates and slowly trickled toward the left side of the goal. As Skinner reached to knock the puck aside, Zacha dove and swatted the puck up and in for his 14th of the season to make it 3-2.
McDavid had tied it 2-2 with 7:40 left in the second with his 50th. Klim Kostin skated down the right side and chased down a long dump in behind the goal line, came around the back of the net and sent a centering pass in front to McDavid. The Oilers’ captain faked to get Swayman to go down, went to his left and put it in.
McDavid reached the 50-goal mark in his 61st game of the season. Only Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri have hit the mark faster in Oilers’ history. It was also McDavid’s eighth goal in the last four games.
”He just drives our team,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. ”He is the best player in the world. … He has really taken a step in regards to attacking the net more and taking it on himself and I think you see the results.”
McDavid, whose previous career high was 44 goals last season, got the Oilers on the scoreboard first, 2:17 into the game, as he skated in the left circle and beat Swayman five-hole.
Nosek tied it just 13 seconds later as he got a pass in front from Garnet Hathaway – who came over from the Capitals with Orlov last Thursday – and sent the puck into the top right corner for his fourth.
Foligno gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 4:54 left in the middle period as he got the return pass from Charlie Coyle on a 2-on-1 rush and beat Skinner past his blocker from the left side. It was his 10th.
Orlov had secondary assists on each of the Bruins’ first two goals.
Bruins: At Calgary on Tuesday night to wrap up a four-game trip.
Oilers: Host Toronto on Wednesday night in the middle game of a three-game homestand.
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