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Oilers @ Maple Leafs Game 53 Preview

Oilers begin a six game road trip against a struggling Maple Leafs team who is winless in their last eleven.

Glad you're in Toronto
Glad you're in Toronto
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

oilers logo black text


leafs logo
14-29-9, 37 points,  .712 p/g Ranks 22-27-4, 48 points, .906 p/g
Western Conference - 14th Eastern Conference - 13th
29th P/G 26th
25th ST 22nd
28th ES 25th
29th Goal 25th
5 PM - CBC
Air Canada Centre
The opposing view:  Pension Plan Puppets

The Struggle Is Real

Pittsburgh needed only a couple of goals to disarm the Oilers on Wednesday Night at Rexall Place.  Evgeni Malkin scored a goal in his first game since injuring his groin, while former Oiler David Perron notched his tenth point in thirteen games with the Penguins.  Mark Arcobello (another former Oiler) had an assist on Malkin's goal, and the Oilers failed to tally anything on twenty two shots.  Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside everything Edmonton threw at him for his 24th win of the year.  Pittsburgh would then travel to Calgary, where they would make short work of the Flames.

Edmonton begins a six game road trip tonight against a Leafs team that's been struggling mightily in recent weeks.  Let's dive right in.

The Oilers are saying

"It's getting better.  Every day we go out to practice we stress tempo, execution and compete.  Today's practice was a good day for us.  We had all those elements and the guys worked hard.  All we can do is just keep working at it"

That's Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson on his team's recent improvement.

Since getting the job, Todd Nelson is 7-10-4 behind the bench.  It doesn't look like much, but when it's stacked next to Eakins' 7-19-5 this year, it looks good on paper.  No doubt we enjoy watching the Oilers win, but does winning one game of every three that Nelson has coached so far a real improvement over Eakins' combined 36-63-14?  I'd like to give Nelson an entire season to work it out, but then again, I'd like to see this team make the playoffs once before I die.

The Opponent is saying

"Yeah, I mean, it's tough, you always want to try to stay positive, but when things are going like this, it's hard to stay positive, but we need everyone to be leaders, and try to be as positive we can to get out of this, again we got lots of shots, and create a lot of opportunities, and their goalie played well"
That's Leafs forward Tyler Bozak on his team's 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.  The Leafs have lost eleven straight games.

It's comical to see the Leafs struggling once again in a new year.  Remember how a winning streak puts them at fourth in the West for a few minutes means that this is the year?  Ugh, I feel bad for Leaf fans.  Well, not that bad.  I will feel a little more bad if the Oilers plow through a Leafs team on the tail end of a back-to-back.

The Leafs traded Carter Ashton and Jared Broll to the Lightning for a conditional seventh round pick in 2016.  I'm hoping they go after something they shouldn't.

Take a look at the chart at the top of the page.  If you didn't see a Leafs logo or an Oilers logo above the stats, would you be able to tell which team is which?

Have some of this
  • LEAFS GONNA LEAF - Winless in their last eleven, the Oilers come to town having won four actual games in their last ten.  If the Oilers knock off the Leafs in Toronto, I can't wait to see the impending media doom circus that is the Toronto MSM freak out.
  • SANS HALL, POULIOT - Jack Michaels reports that Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot aren't likely to get in against Toronto.  Martin Marincin has been called up, and should see some action.  Sorry, Keith.
  • I've got Ben Scrivens (9-17-7, .894 SV% / 3.05 GAA) in tonight for no other reason than he's playing against his former club.  Expect Jonathan Bernier (12-20-2, .901 SV% / 3.01 GAA) to get the start for Toronto, as James Reimer played last night against the Devils.
  • THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN'T COVER UP WITH LIPSTICK AND POWDER - David Clarkson got a bajillion dollar contract offer from the Oilers that he didn't take.  Fortunately, he was scooped up by the Maple Leafs.  Things are working out great between the Leafs and David Clarkson.  (Spoiler, not so much.)
  • WHAT'S GOING GOOD FOR THE LEAFS? Well, Phil Kessel is a pretty good player still.  James Van Riemsdyk isn't too bad either.  Like when the Oilers were winless for a month, it's tough to find positives when you're winless in eleven games.  It would give me no greater pleasure than if the Oilers could trounce the Leafs if for no other reason than it would kick up the media circus about two and a half notches.