The story going into tonight’s game was that the Maple Leafs were going to start rookie goaltender Garret Sparks in his first ever NHL game rather than veteran Jonathan Bernier. The move almost seemed like a slap in the face to the Oilers by a team that was only 1 point ahead of them in the overall standings. The Oilers wouldn’t disappoint.
The first line + Andrej Sekera and Darnell Nurse played well. They dominated the play when they were on the ice and probably had the best chances of the game for the Oilers. The problem, like it has been for most of the season, is that the Oilers are only really getting production from a single line and that is what cost them the game tonight.
The rest of the defenders for the Oilers. Even if I didn’t watch this game I could’ve guessed that Justin Schultz was back from injury and sure enough I’d be correct. The Leafs’ first shot and goal of the game came whith Schultz covering absolutely nobody while trying to skate back into the play. There were a few of these in the game including a flubbed pass on the PP by Schultz that lead to a 2 on 1 against Schultz.
Simply the fact that the Oilers got shutout by a rookie in his NHL debut. Nothing more needs to be said about it.
As much as I give the Oilers a hard time about the loss Sparks definitely had some help. The Oilers hit the post on 3 occasions tonight. If any one of those went in this may have been a different game. Hopefully after an extended eastern roadtrip things will improve (one can hope right?).
The Oiler are back at Rexall for the next five games but their opponents are a bit of a mixed bag. First up is the Boston Bruins on Wednesday and then the Dallas Stars on Friday. Hopefully we are treated to better contest than tonight.