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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

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Oilers are 1-0-1 on current roadie. Can they trip up the surging Leafs?

Edmonton Oilers v Boston Bruins
Yamamoto is 1-1-2 in three games with the Oilers this year.
Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (22-17-5) 4th, Pacific vs

Toronto Maple Leafs (24-14-5) 2nd, Atlantic

06 January 2020

Scotiabank Arena

500 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pension Plan Puppets

TWO POINTS IN BEANTOWN

Four goals in Boston? You bet. Edmonton dealt the Bruins just their second regulation home loss of the season with their 4-1 win on Saturday. The Oilers shrugged off a first period power play goal by David Pastrnak to put up two second period tallies by Gaetan Haas and Darnell Nurse. The Oilers kept the good times going in the third period with a goal from Connor McDavid and an empty-netter from Leon Draisaitl. Seal it up. A win in Boston, a big win for Mike Smith, and a crucial win for the Oilers overall.

Edmonton takes their 1-0-1 roadie record to Toronto to face on the surging Leafs, who are 15-4-1 since Sheldon Keefe assumed the head coaching position. Can the Oilers keep the Leafs at bay?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

We’ve done a lot of good things but haven’t done it for the whole game...

Source

That’s Oilers goaltender Mike Smith. Smith picked up his first win since late November with Saturday’s win against Boston.

Mike Smith turned aside 35 shots to seal the win for Edmonton. Smith needed a W in the worst way, he’d been without a win in his last five starts.

THE LEAFS ARE SAYING

I thought it was good to build off my wins against Detroit and New Jersey recently. It was a lot of fun out there tonight. The guys played extremely hard and we did a really good job defensively and made them have to generate chances.

Source

That’s Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson after Saturday’s shutout win over the Islanders.

Hutchinson has won his last three starts. The Leafs are now only six points out of the Atlantic Division lead.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • I’m not going to link to the Mike Smith love-in that’s going on right now. I think it’s great that Smith picked up his first win since late November, and he had 35 saves in what was a huge game to take down the Bruins. There’s a lot of “he’s back!” talk over on the Twittersphere, and I’d caution you that it was Smith’s first win in six weeks. Glad for Smith, and glad for the club, but can we hold off on the streamers and balloons until he can string a few games in a row?
  • LINES: We’ll dive into those a little bit more once we get a look at tonight’s lines, but I want to see more line 2 with 93, 29 and 56. The Oilers are getting goals here and there from the bottom six (Gaetan Haas scored his fourth of the season on Saturday), can the Oilers find balance throughout?
  • WHAT JACK SAID: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are tied atop the scoring chase at 65 points each. Playoffs or bust.
  • Matthew Benning has been skating with the club, there’s a good chance we see him sooner than later. Will it be tonight?
  • The Leafs have no doubt stepped up since the departure of Mike Babcock. Since Sheldon Keefe has taken the reins, the Leafs have points in 16 of 20 games. They’re second in the league in goals per game (3.58), though they’re right in the middle (16th) allowing 3.09 goals on average. Their sixth ranked power play helps too.
  • NET GAINS: If Mike Smith starts tonight, it will be his third consecutive start (8-9-3, .897 SV% / 1 SO / 3.07 GAA). The Leafs are likely to counter with Frederik Andersen (21-8-4, .916 SV% / 2.67 GAA / 1 SO)
  • SICK BAY: Mikko Koskinen and Matthew Benning are up in the air for the Oilers right now. The Leafs are without defenceman Jake Muzzin. (foot). Trevor Moore (concussion) is out indefinitely. Ilya Mikheyev (wrist) is day-to-day.