SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers aim to prove they're for real

Edmonton's Taylor Hall (on right) hugs Jordan Eberle after his goal on Vancouver's Roberto Luongo...

Edmonton's Taylor Hall (on right) hugs Jordan Eberle after his goal on Vancouver's Roberto Luongo during the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Friday, October 25, 2011. (CODIE MCLACHLANQMI Agency)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:58 PM ET

The Original Six Tour rolls through Boston tonight for a date with the defending Stanley Cup champions and everyone in the Edmonton Oilers dressing room is as dialled up as they’ve been all year.

“This is a game you circle on you calendar for sure,” said winger Taylor Hall. “Whenever we played Chicago last year, after they won it, it was the same kind of deal - you always want to measure yourself against the champions.

“We know they’re playing very well lately and so are we. A game on the road, against the defending Stanley Cup champions, in a city like Boston is a big game.”

After a slow start attributed to a Stanley Cup hangover, the Bruins are on a three-game win streak, posting wins of 6-2, 7-0 and 5-3 over the Islanders, Leafs and Senators.

Edmonton, ahead of Boston in the standings at the moment on the strength of a 9-3-2 start, is looking forward to a chance to show they might just be for real.

“We definitely have an opportunity to send a message to the league,” said Jordan Eberle. “These guys are the best of the best and we have a chance, coming in on a fairly hot streak, to try and take them down.

“And this is my first time here in Boston, so I’m excited.”

The Oilers played poorly in their last two starts, losing in Phoenix and getting saved by Nikolai Khabibulin’s spectacular netminding in Montreal, but Boston isn’t looking past the challenge.

“They’re playing well, they have a lot of skilled forwards, speedy forwards,” said defenceman Johnny Boychuk. “You have to respect them because if you don’t they’re going to burn you.”

LATE HITS... The Oilers will start Devan Dubnyk in goal, resting Nikolai Khabibulin for a conference game Friday in Detroit.

“It’s not difficult,” head coach Tom Renney said of the decision. “We play back-to-back here. It’s one of those situations where Dubie has to play. Boston is a big, strong team, I think this is tailor made for Devan, quite honestly. With his size and strength it lines up well for us.”

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca

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