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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

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Oilers look to snap three game losing streak with win over underwhelming Leafs

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (18-12-4) 2nd, Pacific vs

Toronto Maple Leafs (15-14-4) 6th, Atlantic

14 December 2019

Rogers Place

500 PM MST

TV: CBC

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pension Plan Puppets

WHEN THE WALLS COME TUMBLIN’ DOWN

The wheels haven’t quite come off yet, but the Oilers would do a bit of good by tightening some things up. Edmonton’s one game trip to Minnesota saw them drop a 6-5 match to the Wild. The Oilers picked up goals from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (both picked up their 20th goals of the season), as well as Oscar Klefbom and Gaetan Haas. James Neal scored one late, but it was a rough night for Mike Smith. Smith yielded six goals on just 26 shots, and the Oilers would lose their third straight (0-2-1).

Things are tightening up in the Pacific. Arizona has vaulted to first in the division, while the Oilers and Flames are tied at 40 points. The Golden Knights are right behind. Can the Oilers pick up a win against the underwhelming Leafs tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

We’re not panicking in here...We lost three games, I think we’re the last team in the League to lose three in a row, so, all teams have gone through it and we’re going through it now.

Source

That’s Oilers captain Connor McDavid after his club’s 6-5 loss to the Wild on Thursday night.

I’m sure glad McDavid isn’t panicking. I’m having a litter of puppies. That cool cushion that the Oilers had atop the Pacific has vanished like chips at a cold roulette wheel. They’re right next to Calgary and Vegas is right behind. No sweat.

THE MAPLE LEAFS ARE SAYING

We’ve got the skill. We’re a hard team to defend when we have it in our hands. I think that was the message, stop throwing the puck away, play with calmness. I think as a team, we’ve got to be way better in these thirds, make sure we have that calmness and make sure we’re not throwing pucks away.

Source

That’s Leafs forward Mitch Marner on his club’s 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

The Leafs yielded three goals in the third to give Calgary a big win. The Flames are 7-0-0 since Geoff Ward has assumed head coaching duties. The Leafs are one game under a Bettman .500.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • That’s a great looking first line. That’s a miserable looking second line. Granlund and Chiasson have combined for a total of 14 points between the two of them. You know who could probably help things out? Name rhymes with “Mail or Call”
  • Is there any way that the Oilers go back to Mike Smith this season? I mean, they’ll probably have to in order to spell Koskinen, but it’s not recommended for much more than that. Smith had an absolutely killer first month of the year, but he’s tailed off since early November.
  • The Leafs have just fifteen wins in 33 games, which...isn’t great. They’re scoring at a fairly decent clip (11th overall, 3.18 G/G), but only six teams allow more goals (3.21 GA/G). A middle of the road power play and a 25th overall penalty kill have helped contribute to Toronto’s struggles.
  • Though Toronto has struggled, they’ve got plenty of firepower to work with. Auston Matthews is playing at a point per game (19-15-34) pace, while John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly all have 20+ points on the year.
  • NET GAINS: Expect Frederik Andersen (15-8-3, .918 SV% / 2.54 GAA / 1 SO) to go for the Leafs tonight in goal. Mikko Koskinen (11-4-2, .914 SV% / 2.72 GAA / 1 SO) is starting for the Oilers tonight.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers will be without Matt Benning (head). For the Maple Leafs, Trevor Moore (shoulder) and Andreas Johnsson (leg) are day-to-day.

The Oilers need to win this one to keep pace with three teams. Lose to the Leafs and your Leaf buddies who are still rocking Felix Potvin jerseys aren’t going to let you forget it.