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Leafs Win Tank Battle at the Rex

The war wages on.

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers were simply unprepared for the formation and the utter efficiency of the Leafs high glove tank division. The slaughter occurred early, with the Leafs unrelenting in their goal to acquire the coveted Fort McEichel.

As much as McDavid or Eichel would probably help this rebuild, a win against the Leafs is always good to see. The Oilers scored 4 goals in the first, and for the first time this year (glove tap to Bruce McCurdy), the Oilers won a game in regulation when scoring 4 goals.

The Oilers got started early, with Benoit Pouliot scoring his first of the night on a slap shot on the rush (this happens again). Martin Marincin started the breakout getting the puck up to Eberle who gained the zone and dropped it to Pouliot who was uncovered on a 2 on 3. Pouliot beat Bernier high glove (this happens a lot more) for the 1-0 lead with the ice still wet and Sportsnet still doing the starting lineups.

The Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead on another clean zone entry by Jordan Eberle on the power play. The puck got to Justin Schultz at the point and fed Eberle who came off the half boards into a wide open area in the slot (seriously, watch the replay, this was Oilers from early last season-like open), who also beat Bernier high glove.

The Oilers made it 3-0 when Keith Aulie got the puck past 2 forecheckers to Pouliot who fed it all the way across the ice to Yakupov. Yakupov returned the favour hitting a streaking Pouliot at the blueline, and seconds later Pouliot beat Bernier high glove with a slapshot (insert your own Matrix joke here).

Anton Lander made it 4-0 on the power play after depositing an Eberle cross-crease pass over the glove of James Reimer who had replaced Bernier in goal. The Oilers power play used to almost solely rely on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins setting up on the right half wall, and the change to attacking from both sides of the ice has really made the power play a lot more dangerous.

The Leafs got on the board after James Van Riemsdyk tipped a Dion Phaneuf point shot past Ben Scrivens for a power play goal. This was it for the scoring in both the period and the game.

This really was one of the most dominant periods the Oilers have put together since rebuild 1.0. They out shot the Leafs 15-8 on the period, out-chanced the Leafs 15-6 at ES and out-Corsi'd the Leafs 20-8. They moved the puck quickly to transition from defense to offense, gained the offensive zone at will and made good decisions all around the ice.

The Oilers would eventually fall back on their heels a bit, forcing Scrivens to make a couple of very good stops in the 2nd period. Scrivens himself even got into the action, pulling a move out of the early season and mishandling the puck and forcing himself to scramble to make an awkward looking save on Nazem Kadri. Derek Roy nearly made it 5-1, but was stoned by James Remier who stretched across the crease to make a very good save.

Any attempt the Leafs had at a comeback was halted in the 2nd half of the 3rd period as they took 4 minor penalties, including a Kadri penalty for an illegal check to the head of Matt Fraser, who had to be helped off the ice.

War On Ice Game Report

The Oilers win, combined with a Coyotes loss, puts the teams in a tie for 2nd last in the NHL. The Oilers hold the reverse tie-breaker with 2 fewer regulation/overtime wins. Buffalo managed to get a point in a shootout loss to the Capitals, putting them 5 points up.