Rask makes 19 saves; Wheeler, Sobotka score to lead Bruins over Oilers 2-0

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

BOSTON - Vladimir Sobotka did his best work in the third period after a frustrating middle frame.

The Bruins centre, denied a goal in the second period when the puck entered the net after the final horn, set up Blake Wheeler 2:47 into the third and then finished off a 2-on-1 feed from Wheeler 4:15 later to give Boston a 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Rookie Tuukka Rask turned aside 19 shots for his second shutout in eight NHL starts, but the game was scoreless until Sobotka and Wheeler struck with help from linemate Daniel Paille.

"We keep forgetting that with an extra second, they would have had three goals," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his 100th win with the team. "That line was extremely good for us."

The trip was created only a week earlier, after the Bruins traded right-winger Chuck Kobasew to Minnesota and then lost centre Marc Savard and left-winger Milan Lucic to injuries. Paille was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres, and Sobotka was summoned from Providence of the American Hockey League.

Rask was in a duel with veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin until Wheeler converted on Sobotka's hard work and grinding along the boards. Sobotka outfought Theo Peckham for the puck in a three-second scrum.

"He's so competitive and strong on his skates, he's almost impossible to take off his feet," Wheeler said of Sobotka. "He does it every night. The last two games, he's had like 13 hits or something."

Wheeler scored his fourth of the season, and Sobotka added his first. Paille assisted on both.

Rask, in his fourth start this season, gave Boston its third straight shutout of Edmonton and the Bruins' eighth win in a row over the Oilers, dating to 2000. He blanked the New York Rangers in his only start last season.

"I think that was the best game of the year for us," said Rask, who wasn't severely tested. "We were skating hard, moving the puck. A couple of turnovers in the first period and the second period, but overall I think it was a good game."

The Bruins continued a lose-one, win-one pattern that began after they were beaten on opening night. They haven't won or lost two in a row.

Edmonton, missing several key players who are injured or flu-ridden, has lost four of five.

"We tried to match intensity early but they came hard," forward Shawn Horcoff said. "You have to give them credit. They had four lines that work extremely hard. They had a good game plan.

"They're tough at home. Khabby again gave us a chance and held us in there until the third period. I think a couple letdowns too many, and it was only a matter of time till they got one."

The Oilers haven't defeated Boston since Oct. 17, 2000. Their last goal against the Bruins was scored on Dec. 3, 2005 - a shutout streak of 204 minutes two seconds.

Edmonton had two power-play chances later in the third period, but lost the second half of the latter one because of a penalty for too many men on the ice.

Sobotka was stopped by Khabibulin from the doorstep on his disallowed goal, got the puck right back and was in the process of shooting when the horn sounded.

NOTES: Julien, coaching his 176th game with the Bruins, got to 100 wins as Boston's coach faster than anyone except Tom Johnson, who did it in 138 games. Don Cherry reached the milestone in 175 games. ... The Oilers were coming off Thursday's 6-5 shootout win over Detroit at home, which snapped a three-game losing streak. ... The Bruins ended a nine game losing streak on Halloween (0-6-3), dating to a win in 1985. Boston hadn't won on Oct. 31 since 2002.

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