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GAME PREVIEW: Game 5/56 Edmonton Oilers @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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Oilers look to break out of scoring slump with visit to Leafs

Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers
After a lacklustre 1-3 start, the Oilers head east.
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (1-3-0, 6th in North) vs.

Toronto Maple Leafs (3-1-0, 1st in North)

20 January 2021

Scotiabank Arena

5 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pension Plan Puppets

A FORGETFUL PAIR

The Oilers hosted the Montréal Canadiens for two games and didn’t do well in either one of them. They were blown out of the water on Saturday by a 5-1 margin and couldn’t muster much offence in a 3-1 loss on Monday. The top two lines aren’t scoring right now, the power play went 0/7 on Monday. It’s causing all sorts of havoc on the end product. A goal from Slater Koekkoek and a goal from Devin Shore are excellent complementary goals, but one goal per game won’t get you many points in the standings. The goals will come eventually, and tonight’s a perfectly good night for them to start.

The Oilers begin a four game road swing tonight in Toronto. Can the club get back into the win column?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I thought we actually came out and played a decent first period...We had energy, we were getting pucks deep and getting after them. I thought we came out and played real well. And then in the second period, we just kind of stepped back and let them take it to us, which we obviously can’t let happen”

Source

That’s Oilers centre Kyle Turris on his club’s 3-1 loss to the Canadiens on Monday.

There’s a handful of issues with the Oilers right now, the most pressing is the one about the goals not getting scored. You’re not going to beat most NHL teams with one goal a game. The Oilers need more from their top two lines. The power play going 0/7 is also right near the top of the issues. Eventually, the club will figure out how to score again. The sooner it happens, the better.

THE MAPLE LEAFS ARE SAYING

“We’ve got to be ready to play in tight games...Every game we’ve played has been close, so we just want to make sure we keep doing the right things and playing the right way.”

Source

That’s Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner after his club’s 3-1 victory over Winnipeg on Monday.

The Leafs have won all of their games by one goal except this one, when Marner scored an empty-netter with under thirty seconds to go.

LINES

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • DON’T LOOK NOW: There’s a reason Puljujarvi is getting some peeks on the top line and on the power play. It’s only a matter of time.
  • GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER?: I have no doubt that the goals will return to the lineup, but now seems like an absolute perfect time to reunite the line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto. Bump Dominik Kahun (or even Tyler Ennis) up to the McDavid line and get Jesse Puljujarvi to 1RW. That’s a lot of wishes I have there, but at least put the 93-29-56 line back together again. The Oilers have scored ten goals in four games, and just two in their last two. Shake it up.
  • POWER PLAY: Like the 5 on 5 scoring, I expect the power play to work itself out. There’s no way that the club can continue along at a 2/18 pace, right? The Oilers had seven chances on the power play against the Habs on Monday
  • UN-BEAR-ABLE: Coach Tippett scratched both Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear last game and rolled out pairs of Darnell Nurse / Slater Koekkoek and Kris Russell / Tyson Barrie. Side note: the Oilers allow the most shots in the league right now at 36.3 per game. I’d expect to see both Bear and Jones back in the lineup soon.
  • LEAFS ROLLING 3: The Oilers will likely have their hands full tonight as the Leafs are rolling three very good lines. The top line of Auston Matthews (1-3-4), Mitch Marner (3-3-6) and Joe Thornton (1-1-2) ought to be enough for one night. Toronto’s second line of John Tavares (3-3-6), William Nylander (2-3-5) and Jimmy Vesey (1-0-1) isn’t too bad either. Both Tavares and Marner are tied for the league lead in scoring with six points each. (Connor McDavid has five)
  • NET GAINS: Mikko Koskinen is expected to make his fifth consecutive start (1-3-0, .897 SV% / 3.80 GAA). The Leafs will likely run with Frederik Andersen (2-1-0, .887 SV% / 3.32 GAA).
  • SCRATCHES: James Neal and Gaetan Haas are day-to-day, while Mike Smith is on LTIR. Toronto will be without forward Nick Robertson, as he is week-to-week with a knee injury.