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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Oilers look to put the brakes on their five game skid

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (16-10-0), 3rd, Pacific

Toronto Maple Leafs (19-8-2), 2nd, Atlantic

14 December 2021

Rogers Place

7 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pension Plan Puppets

Seabstian Aho scored two goals and had a helper as the Carolina Hurricanes took two points in Edmonton. Frederik Andersen turned aside 22 of 23 shots for the Hurricanes, and it was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who scored the lone goal for the Oilers. Edmonton is now on a five game streak without so much as a point in the standings to show for it. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in town tonight as the Oilers look to avoid making it six in a row.

The line jumbler is in full effect for tonight’s matchup. Can the Oilers put a stop to the streak?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I don’t see us executing well enough to get the speed we need in our game.”

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett after his club’s 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday.

The fruits of Edmonton’s early season successes are swiftly being eaten away by a combination of slow starts, a regressing power play, and a lack of secondary scoring. The goaltending isn’t a world-beater right now either, which further complicates things. Edmonton needs to come out flying tonight to push Toronto off their game.

THE MAPLE LEAFS ARE SAYING

“It was not the start I wanted, but that’s hockey sometimes, so I tried to be focused on the next puck and I think I settled pretty well after that...I just told myself, ‘Let’s stop the next one, let’s play well and let’s see what happens.”

Source

That’s Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek on his performance in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

Mrazek had a rollercoaster of a game on Saturday. Up 4-1, the Blackhawks storm back knotting it up midway through the third only to have David Kampf take the lead with 80 ticks remaining off a wacky board bounce.

They all count.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • It’s beginning to look a lot like desperation taking hold. I’ve always thought that putting Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid for short stints is just fine, but relying on this for longer stretches of time doesn’t make good sense. Both 97 and 29 drive their own lines. That’s simple stuff. Let these two do what you’re paying them to do.
  • RNH can play on the third line. I bet you can find someone not named Devin Shore to play alongside him, too!
  • Foegele will get moved up for Hyman if Hyman is out tonight. This would be Hyman’s first meeting with his former club since signing a seven year deal with the Oilers this past offseason. Hyman suffered a shoulder injury in the Hurricane game on Saturday, Tippett says he’s day-to-day, so he may pop up tonight even though he didn’t practice yesterday.
  • Duncan Keith led the stretch at practice for the Oilers, I think there’s a good chance we see him teamed up with Cody Ceci tonight. Keith has been out of the lineup with an upper body injury since the game against Dallas on November 23rd.
  • Toronto’s power play is on a tear going 4/5 in their last two games combined. The Oilers will want to avoid seeing Toronto’s power play tonight.
  • YOU SHOULD KNOW: Toronto’s found some serious value in winger Michael Bunting. You may have missed the emergence of Michael Bunting, the fourth round selection for the Arizona Coyotes in 2014. Bunting arrived on scene for the Maple Leafs when he signed a two year deal for less than a million per season. In 29 games, he’s scored 19 points spending some quality time on the Auston Matthews / William Nylander line. Not bad for 950K a season.
  • Plenty of talk during last game about how Mikko Koskinen should’ve had the third goal. That’s fair, but the Oilers have scored exactly eight goals in their last five games. Edmonton’s goal parade in the first 20 games of the season cloaked a lot of issues. The Oilers aren’t going to win very many games scoring one goal or less.
  • Jack Campbell (14-5-2, .935 SV% / 1.99 GAA / 3 SO) will go for Toronto tonight. Mike Smith is not expected to be ready for the Oilers yet, Edmonton will counter with Koskinen (12-5-0, .907 SV% / 3.05 GAA) or Stuart Skinner (2-5-0, .918 SV% / 2.76 GAA) if Tippett is feeling spicy.
  • Kinda goes without saying, but the Oilers could really use a win tonight. Sitting in third, they’re just a point ahead of San Jose and two ahead of the Golden Knights. Tonight’s a good night to put two in the bank if at all possible.