Edmonton Oilers (3-6-0, 5th in North) vs.
Toronto Maple Leafs (7-2-0, 1st in North)
30 January 2021
5 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
SB Nation Opponent: Pension Plan Puppets
LOOKING FOR CLUES
Thursday’s 4-3 loss was a game that the Oilers probably could have won. Leon Draisaitl had a pair of power play goals, and the third line struck when Zack Kassian scored his first of the year. A 3-3 tie would break when Auston Matthews would score the game winner with six and a half remaining in regulation. The Oilers have three wins in nine games, and they need to start putting together some wins before the wheels fall off early.
The Oilers are in action against the Maple Leafs once again today, and they’ll face off against Ottawa tomorrow. One game at a time. Can the Oilers split the series with Toronto with a win today?
Let’s go to the tape.
THE OILERS ARE SAYING
“I didn’t like our first two periods at all, especially our first...I thought our second period we did an all right job of just settling the game down. We found a way to hang around and I thought the third period was pretty good minus a couple of penalties and some PK goals against. Lots of power plays both ways and kind of a weird game, but I thought our game wasn’t where it needed to be at all.”
That’s Oilers captain Connor McDavid after his club’s 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Though the Oilers’ power play went 2/7 on the night, the Maple Leafs cashed twice while the Oilers were on the kill. Edmonton is averaging 3.67 goals against per game, which ranks them 26th out of 31 clubs.
THE MAPLE LEAFS ARE SAYING
“We got the win, which is all that matters...Obviously a lot of disruptive flow; we’re taking too many penalties right now. Special teams came up big, couple of big penalty kills, a couple of big power-play goals for us and sometimes that’s the way the game goes. Special teams got to come through and obviously we squeaked out with this one, but obviously some guys came up with some big plays on both ends for us tonight and ‘Freddie’ was a brick wall as well.
That’s Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews on his club’s 4-3 win over Edmonton on Thursday night.
Toronto took seven penalties, but their power play put up two goals just like Edmonton’s did. Wayne Simmonds and Jason Spezza each had an even strength goal for the Leafs giving them their fourth win in a row.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
Glimpse of the reverse retros at today’s practice....just one change on the lines...pairings remain the same. Koskinen gets the day off.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) January 29, 2021
- SHAKEN, STIRRED: There’s a real call for the lineup to be shaken up. This isn’t without merit. Your top two players in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are 1 and 2 in league scoring right now. They’re doing just fine. Your problems come into play when you see that the club is allowing the fifth most goals per game, the bottom six aren’t scoring almsot at all and your goaltender is running on fumes after he’s started all nine games you’ve played so far. The Oilers miss Oscar Klefbom badly, they’re a 73% on the PK, and the bottom six have been dormant on the score sheet. Other than that, things have been great.
- Zack Kassian scored his first goal of the year on the Turris line. Let’s watch.
Short of a game winner in overtime, this is a good time to score your first goal of the season. Down one, nine minutes remaining, a lovely deflection off of the Turris shot and you finish your own rebound. If the Oilers can get a goal a game from either of their third or fourth line, it’ll definitely help out.
- NET GAINS: Troy Grosenick is close to being able to play for the Oilers, though the calendar suggests he’s at least a day or two away from game action. Mikko Koskinen will likely start his tenth consecutive game (3-6-0, .895 SV% / 3.50 GAA), while the Maple Leafs are likely to run Frederik Andersen (5-2-0, .896 SV% / 2.87 GAA). Koskinen leads the leauge in minutes played by almost two full games, and could have used a day off last week.
- NEW KITS: Oilers are debuting their “reverse retro” jerseys today. No matter what happens, they’re going to look fabulous doing it.
- SCRATCHES: For the Maple Leafs, forwards Joe Thornton (ribs) Nate Robertson (knee) and goaltender Jack Campbell (leg) will miss tonight’s game. For Edmonton, Gaetan Haas is day-to-day, while Mike Smith (LTIR) and Oscar Klefbom are out for a while.