The Edmonton Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. The Oilers got goals from their big guns in McDavid and Draisaitl but could not overcome a third-period surge by the Leafs. Toronto captain, John Tavares potted the game-winner on the power-play.
It was a night that started off very good for the Oilers but they weren’t able to get the result they wanted. This moves their record to 2-4-0 and they will look forward to two-game series against the Winnipeg Jets that starts on Sunday.
It was a bit of a topsy-turvy game that saw momentum swing many times, but I got the complete recap here for your viewing pleasure...
We got a bit more action in tonight’s opening frame than we did in Wednesday's game. Kailer Yamamoto had an excellent chance on a 2-on-1 feed by Leon Draisaitl on the game’s first shift but Freddy Andersen was there to answer. Most of this period saw the Oilers putting the pressure on the Leafs. All four lines were moving their feet and cycling the puck really well.
As the period wore on the two teams started to tighten up play and establish the tight-checking style we saw in the previous game. The Leafs would have moments of pressure in the Edmonton end but it was met with some good defensive play by Edmonton and some solid goaltending by Mikko Koskinen.
Zack Kassian might have had the best chance of the period as he sent a shot labelled for the top corner off the knob of Andersen’s stick. Tyson Barrie also had a few good looks on the offensive end.
The period would end scoreless but it was perhaps the best period by the Oilers from a technical standpoint.
We finally got some goals in the second period. The Oilers were the first to strike as a relentless Yamamoto was able to feed Draisiaitl on the penalty kill who jammed it in for his second goal in two games. We had a 1-0 Oilers lead with that shorthanded marker. That lead would be short-lived, however, as Adam Brooks would net the equalizer on a deflected shot the very next shift. 1-1 at the midway point.
This would give the Leafs some energy. They clamped down on the Oilers and it worked to their advantage. The pressure would cause Adam Larsson to give it away to William Nylander who got it to Jimmy Vesey as he shot it into a wide-open cage. The Leafs have their first lead of the game at 2-1.
The Oilers had two power-play chances in this period that were beyond dismal. James Neal did have a good chance in front of the net but that was the only positive part of both chances. Something needs to change to the special teams going.
The Oilers would need to find a goal heading into the third period.
The Oilers were quick to get things going in the final frame. McDavid got the Oilers square early on after tipping home an Ethan Bear point shot. We had a 2-2 tie. The teams would return to that tight-checking game as they looked to get the next one.
It came to a head when Devin Shore took a hooking penalty at the midway point of the period, giving Toronto their second power-play of the game. The Leafs would move the puck around and eventually find a point shot that would be tipped by Tavares past Koskinen. The Leafs took their second lead of the game with a 3-2 marker.
The Oilers would push in the final moments of the game but it wouldn’t be enough as Andersen stood strong between the pipes. Marner would pot an empty-netter with less than a second to go and that would be it. The Oilers drop a 4-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- The number one issue for the Oilers is their play on the power-play — and the penalty kill as well in tonight's case. The team looked brutal with the man advantage once again, dispelling the notion that James Neal was the last piece to the puzzle. They also allowed the Leafs to walk over them on the penalty kill as they failed to kill off the two penalties taken. It lost them the game and this is the next area Tippett and co. have to figure out.
- I thought the Oilers looked a lot more dangerous offensively tonight than they did on Wednesday. They had more extended periods of play in the offensive end and moved the puck well. A few boneheaded plays in the d-zone weren’t ideal but I thought they were fine in their own end as well. It was a pretty decent game by the team despite the loss.
- Jesse Puljujarvi looked REALLY good next to McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins in the third period! Who would’ve thought that would be the case? Did anyone think Puljujarvi would do well there? I dunno....definitely not me for the past three years.
- Kailer Yamamoto has been the most consistently good player for the Oilers so far, change my mind. The kid is relentless night in and night out and I love it.
- If we are going to be preaching accountability then it should probably land on Adam Larsson next. He was brutal again tonight and if Tippett will scratch Bear for a few mistakes then he should do the same for Larsson. Can I interest anybody in a Evan Bouchard debut?
- The loss is an early setback for an Oilers team already behind the 8-ball but I think we should get some positives out of this game. The team looked technically sound in each end of the ice and if it wasn’t for some shotty penalty-killing it could’ve easily been an Oiler win. Hopefully, they can take this play into Winnipeg on Sunday.
- Have a great weekend everyone and remember......PULJUJARVI SHOULD STAY ON THE FIRST LINE FOR AT LEAST A FEW MORE GAMES.